A I PA C
Table of Contents
The Importance of the Jewish State 6
Map: Present Day Israel 9
Map: Israel’s Narrow Waistband 10
Map: The History of Israel’s Borders 11
Map: Israel Size Comparison 12
The U.S.-Israel Relationship
The Pillars of the U.S.-Israel Relationship 14
The Peace Process
Israel’s 60-Year Quest for Peace 18
Key Principles of the Peace Process 21
U.S. Foreign Aid: Serving American Interests 26
Boost in U.S. Aid to Israel Vital Amid Increasing Threats 29
Chart: Increased Threats, Increased Costs: Israel’s Urgent Defense Requirements 32
Key Provisions of U.S. Security Assistance to Israel 34
The Iranian Nuclear Threat 38
A Look Back: U.S. Action to Prevent a Nuclear Iran 41
America Can Take More Steps to Prevent a Nuclear Iran 44
Map: The Iranian Missile Threat 47
Hamas Turned Gaza into Launching Pad for Terror 50
Map: Hamas Rocket Ranges 54
Lebanon and Syria
Hizballah Consolidates Power in Unstable Lebanon 56
Map: Hizballah Rocket Range 59
Is Syria Ready for Peace? 60
Defense and Homeland Security Cooperation
Strategic Cooperation Heightens U.S.-Israel Partnership 64
Homeland Security: Expanding U.S.-Israeli Cooperation 67
Energy and Trade
U.S.-Israel Energy Cooperation: A Renewable Resource 72
U.S.-Israel Trade: A Flourishing Relationship 75
At a time when our country faces
historic challenges and threats
internationally, the unique bond between
the United States and Israel is more
critical than ever.
The close strategic, economic and
diplomatic ties between the United
States and Israel have proven critical to
promoting U.S. interests, promoting
peace and combating threats to the
security of both nations. The goal of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC)
is to work with Congress to strengthen the U.S.–Israel relationship.
The United States and Israel share the
same values and a common commitment to democracy and freedom. Israel is America’s most reliable and
only democratic ally in the Middle East, one of the world’s most volatile and important regions.
The goal of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) is to work with Congress to
strengthen this relationship by supporting:
• Vital security assistance to Israel and a robust foreign aid budget
• Israel’s quest for durable peace with its Arab neighbors
• Economic, political and diplomatic measures to prevent a nuclear-armed Iran
• Critical defense, homeland security and energy cooperation between the two allies
For more than 50 years, AIPAC’s staff and its 100,000-plus citizen activists across the country have
worked to provide our elected officials with the information and tools they need to make informed
decisions concerning American policy in the Middle East.
American Israel Public Affairs Committee 3
This Briefing Book, which has been designed specifically as a resource for Members of Congress and
their staffs, examines key aspects of the U.S.–Israel relationship and highlights some of the most
important challenges concerning U.S. Middle East policy that Congress will likely deal with in the
We hope that you will find this material useful, and we look forward to working closely with you in the
days ahead. Here are some ways that AIPAC can work with your office:
• AIPAC’s staff is always available to serve as a resource, so please feel free to contact us at any
time at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 202-639-5222.
• Please visit the “For Hill Staff” section of our website at www.aipac.org for the latest news
and analysis of the key issues and details on the legislative initiatives AIPAC is supporting.
• Subscribe to AIPAC policy publications. AIPAC produces a wide range of policy publications
offering the latest news, unique insight and concise analysis on the critical issues affecting the
U.S.-Israel relationship, including the Daily News Digest, a valuable Middle East news summary,
the Near East Report, AIPAC’s flagship biweekly on U.S. Middle East policy and regular policy
memos on the key issues. You can subscribe to these and other publications visiting the “For Hill
Staff” section of the AIPAC website.
• Attend Issue Briefings on the Hill. AIPAC and the American Israel Education Foundation, a
charitable foundation affiliated with AIPAC, regularly hold briefings on Capitol Hill for staff.
The events are unique opportunities to hear from top AIPAC staff or leading policy experts on the
key issues facing the U.S.-Israel relationship.
We look forward to working with you in the coming year to help strengthen U.S.–Israel relationship.
American Israel Public Affairs Committee 4
The Importance of the Jewish State
The Jewish connection to the land of Israel is
rooted in three thousand years of history,
dating back to when the Jewish people
established the first independent political
entity in the land of Israel. While foreign
armies conquered the territory in subsequent
centuries, they never managed to break the
link between the Jewish people and the land
or to completely dislodge Jews from the
In 1948, the Jewish people reestablished the
Jewish state after millennia of exile and
persecution. Based on the basic tenet of The Holocaust demonstrated the need for the State of
Israel as a safe refuge for Jews after the war.
Zionism—that Jews must have their own
country as a haven —Israel has served as a
refuge for Jews the world over. Israel has In most societies, Jews were the subject of
been built on the principles of freedom and discriminatory laws, violence and even expulsion.
democracy, fulfilling both a political and
historic imperative. The religious yearning of Jews to return to their land
ultimately spawned the political movement of
An Idea to Build a New Nation in an Zionism in the 19th century, when European anti-
Ancient Land Semitism made itself plain in the form of persecution
The memory of Israel and the desire to return to its and massacres. Many Jews came to believe that they
ancient homeland remained a central part of the would only escape discrimination and murder in a
Jewish faith. Most Jews were dispersed from Israel state of their own. One of the first and most
following the destruction of the Second Temple by outspoken proponents of Zionism was Theodor
the Romans in 70 C.E., although Jews have Herzl, a prominent Austrian journalist. In the late
maintained a continuous presence in the Land of 1890s, Herzl helped rally religious and secular Jews
Israel for more than 3,000 years. Jews who left the to the idea that a viable Jewish state could be re-
Holy Land found themselves in locations as diverse established in the historic Land of Israel.
as Europe, North Africa, and the Persian Gulf.
The Zionists sought international backing for their
quest to form a new political entity in the land of
their ancestors—a sparsely populated desert
American Israel Public Affairs Committee 6
wasteland described in the 1860s by writer Mark leaders urging increased immigration of Jews to
Twain as “a desolate country…given over wholly to Mandatory Palestine.
weeds—a silent mournful expanse.” In a major
political victory for the Zionists, the British issued In 1947, the United Nations voted to partition the
the Balfour Declaration in 1917, pledging to facilitate country into two states—one Arab and one Jewish.
the establishment of a national home for the Jewish Even though more than half the area allocated for the
people in the country. On that basis, Britain was Jewish nation was desert, the Jewish community in
awarded the Mandate for Palestine by the League of Palestine immediately accepted the compromise. The
Nations in 1920. Arabs rejected the plan, and five Arab armies invaded
Israel, openly seeking to abort the creation of the
Since its A New Nation Struggles for Survival
establishment in Since its establishment in 1948, Israel has been
forced to wage a struggle for survival, facing hostile
1948, Israel has neighbors with numerically superior armed forces
while also contending with the constant threat of
been forced to terrorism against its civilians.
wage a struggle for In its early years, Israel fought three defensive wars
its survival. against its Arab adversaries: in 1948, 1956 and
1967. The Six-Day War in 1967 left Israel in control
of territory including the Sinai (later returned to
Egypt), the Golan Heights, Gaza and the West Bank
Holocaust Increases Urgency for as well as the Old City of Jerusalem. The united city
Establishing a Jewish State is Israel’s capital, and Israel has opened the city to
Less than three decades later, the genocidal murder of all—protecting Christian, Muslim and Jewish holy
Europe’s Jews would clearly demonstrate to the sites and guaranteeing access.
world the vital need for a safe Jewish refuge.
Trapped without anywhere to flee, 6 million Jews—a Even today, after more than six decades, Israel must
stunning third of the world’s Jewish population— fight to justify its own existence and legitimacy.
were systematically murdered during the Holocaust. Unfortunately, the calls for Israel’s destruction still
The Nazis killed Jews by massacres such as Babi Yar resonate in Iran and parts of the Arab world. And the
and in death camps like Auschwitz. After the war, United Nations, which helped give birth to the
hundreds of thousands of homeless survivors were modern state of Israel, has often become the forum
kept in Displaced Persons camps. President Harry for efforts to delegitimize Israel.
Truman was among the most prominent international
American Israel Public Affairs Committee 7
A Home for Immigrants from Around the A National Ethos: Repairing the World
World For Israel, it is not enough to serve as a safe haven
for world Jewry. Equipped with first-hand knowledge
of the challenges that resource-poor countries face,
Israel has always strived to share its blessings with
other countries that are less fortunate.
Before it had even established embassies in many
world capitals, Israel sent experts abroad to teach
Third World nations such skills as how to upgrade
medical facilities, improve schools and coax crops
from arid land. Today, Israel has one of the most
extensive foreign assistance programs in the world.
Less than a century removed from being only a
Israel has shared its agricultural expertise and dream in the hearts and minds of millions of Jews,
technologies throughout the world, including in Israel has emerged as a thriving democracy and
global leader, committed to fulfilling its Biblical
mandate of being “a light unto the nations.”
While combating these challenges, Israel has also
faced the task of forging a unified nation from an Like the United States, Israel is not a perfect country.
incredibly diverse range of immigrants. Israel But also like the United States, its government and
welcomed immigrants who doubled the size of its people constantly strive to fulfill the principles
population in its first few years of existence. Since its embodied in its Declaration of Independence:
founding, the tiny state has absorbed millions of freedom, justice and peace.
immigrants from more than 100 countries, including
Jews from Europe, Ethiopia and those forced to flee
from Arab countries.
The achievements of Israel are even more remarkable
considering that the country possesses few natural
resources—two-thirds of its land mass is arid desert.
Israel has developed agricultural techniques that
enabled the nation to develop a worldwide reputation
for “making the desert bloom.” Today, Israel is home
to world-class universities and is a global giant when
it comes to high-tech and medical innovations.
American Israel Public Affairs Committee 8
P R E S E N T- D AY I S R A E L
Sea of Galilee
M e d i t e r ranean Sea
Gaza City de
Sderot Dead Sea
Areas which came under Israeli control after the 1967 war.
Final status pending negotiation. The Golan Heights have
been under Israeli law, jurisdiction and administration SCALE
since 1981. Israel withdrew from the Gaza Strip in 2005. Eilat
This map is for illustrative purposes only and does not imply any view 0 25 mi.
regarding future agreements between Israel and its neighbors.
I S R A E L’ S N A R R O W WA I S T B A N D
Haifa Tiberias GOLAN
Sea of Galilee
Caesarea 6 mi.
M e d i t e r ranean Sea
9 mi. Tulkarm a ria
Tel Aviv 11 mi. WEST BANK
10 mi. Bethlehem
1 mi. a
Gaza City de
GA Z A At its narrowest point, Israel is only nine miles wide
from the Mediterranean to the West Bank. Thousands
of Palestinian terrorist attacks have emanated from
the West Bank and Gaza, which lie in close proximity
10 mi. to Israeli population centers.
Beersheba This map is for illustrative purposes only and does not imply any view
regarding future agreements between Israel and its neighbors.
T H E H I S T O RY O F I S R A E L’ S B O R D E R S
LEBANON L EBA N O N
Mediterranean Sea Mediterranean Sea Mediterranean Sea
P HO ENIC IA SY RI A
Sea of Haifa
Galilee Sea of
The Kingdom of The U.N. proposed Tel Aviv WEST BANK The modern state
Acco Sea of
Israel, during the Jerusalem INTERNATIONAL dividing the of Israel established
Megiddo reigns of Kings British Mandate Jerusalem its initial armistice
Beit She’an a
David and de of Palestine into a lines after surviving
Ju Dead Sea de
Ju Dead Sea
Solomon, was Jewish and Arab GAZA invasions by five
Jerusalem composed of a states. Israel Beersheba Arab armies during
vast territory with accepted the plan. its War of Indepen-
Jerusalem as its TRANSJORDAN The Arabs rejected T RA N SJ O RD A N
dence in 1948.
it and attacked
Israel. EG Y PT
E GYP T
Proposed Arab State
BIBLICAL ISRAEL–circa 1020–930 B.C.E.
THE U.N. PARTITION PLAN–1947
ISRAEL’S ARMISTICE LINES–1949
Proposed Jewish State
LE BANON LEBANON L EBA N O N
SYR IA SYRIA SY RI A
Mediterranean Sea Mediterranean Sea GOLAN
Haifa HEIGHTS Haifa HEIGHTS Haifa HEIGHTS
Sea of Sea of Galilee
Galilee Galilee Mediterranean Sea Nazareth
a r ia a r ia
Sam Sam Jenin
Tel Aviv Tel Aviv
WEST WEST ma
BANK BANK Sa
ea ea Tel Aviv
GAZA Jud GAZA Jud Ramallah
After successfully Dead Sea
As part of the 1979 Israel’s current
Beersheba Beersheba Jerusalem
defending itself treaty with Egypt, Bethlehem frontiers reflect
in the Six-Day War, Israel yielded Gaza City a its historic 2005
de J O RD A N
JORDAN JORDAN Sderot
Israel controlled the entire Sinai disengagement
territory that Peninsula in return Beersheba from Gaza, the
SINAI tripled its size. It EGYPT for an historic first time that
PENINSULA Eilat (SINAI PENINSULA) Eilat
traded most of that peace treaty Israel ceded
land in a peace sponsored by territory outside
treaty with Egypt. the United States. EG Y PT the context of a
THE SIX-DAY WAR–1967
PEACE TREATY WITH EGYPT –1979
This map is for illustrative purposes only and does not imply any view regarding future agreements between Israel and its neighbors.
I S R A E L S I Z E C O M PA R I S O N
ISRAEL: 8,367 sq. mi. TX: 266,807 sq. mi. ISRAEL: 8,367 sq. mi. U.S.: 3,717,813 sq. mi. ISRAEL: 8,367 sq. mi. NJ: 7,787 sq. mi.
ISRAEL: 8,367 sq. mi. INDIA: 1,269,346 sq. mi. ISRAEL: 8,367 sq. mi. ITALY: 116,305 sq. mi. ISRAEL: 8,367 sq. mi. IRAN: 636,296 sq. mi.
This map is for illustrative purposes only and does not imply any view regarding future agreements between Israel and its neighbors.
The U.S.-Israel Relationship
Pillars of the U.S.-Israel
Israel and the United States have shared a special bond since the establishment of the modern
Jewish state in 1948. The U.S. was the first country to recognize Israel, only 11 minutes after its
founding. Since then, the two countries have developed a resilient friendship that transcends any
element of partisanship either in Washington or Jerusalem. As the two countries experience their
own respective leadership transitions, the pillars established during the past 60 years will
continue to remain strong.
Support for Israel is Bipartisan
During the past 60 years, bipartisan support for
Israel, the only democracy in the Middle East,
has been a hallmark of virtually every
Congress. Even during periods of partisan
divisions in Washington or during the frequent
fluctuations between peace and violence in the
Middle East, the United States Congress has
been a bastion of support for Israel.
Congress Has Strongly Opposed Anti-
President Harry Truman (left) receives a Torah scroll from
While the United Nations, other international Israeli President Chaim Weizmann.
organizations, and the governments of many
countries of the world often adopt the positions of Israel’s adversaries, Congress has remained
unwavering in its moral stand behind Israel and its right to self-defense. Indeed, Congress has become
the necessary counterweight to much of the world’s imbalanced approach to the Arab-Israeli conflict.
Congress has understood that every Israeli government has sought peace, even as it has often been
forced to defend the Jewish state against aggression.
American Israel Public Affairs Committee 14
The United States and Israel Have Shared Values
The United States and Israel share all the
characteristics of an unbreakable
partnership. The Freedom House group
recognizes Israel each year as a “Free”
nation, in contrast to all the other
countries in the Middle East.
Israel’s commitment to democracy, the
rule of law, freedom of religion and
speech, and human rights means that it
shares a common worldview with the
United States. The two allies share
interests as well as values. They face
many of the same threats in a volatile but
strategic region. Above all, they share President Obama met with Israeli President Shimon Peres during a
a deeply held commitment to stand by trip to Israel in July 2008.
one another to face the challenges
ahead. In a world of great uncertainty
and shifting allegiances, Israel has been a key partner, ally, and friend to the United States.
The United States and Israel Stand United for Peace
Both countries have long recognized that their mutual interests of deterring war, promoting stability
and eventually achieving peace are only possible if the United States continues to stand behind Israel.
U.S. support for Israel has undergirded the success that was realized in Israel’s treaties of peace with
Egypt and Jordan. These states, and many others in the Arab world, have come to understand that an
Israel allied with America cannot be destroyed, thus making peace possible.
The past 60 years have demonstrated that any hope of achieving the goals of stability and peace in one
of the world’s most dangerous regions depends on the superiority of Israel’s military; the financial,
security, diplomatic and moral support of the United States; and American acceptance of the fact that
Israel must make its own life-and-death decisions without pressure. If peace is to be realized, then both
potential adversaries and would-be partners must understand clearly the immutability of the U.S.-Israel
American Israel Public Affairs Committee 15
The United States and Israel Work Together to Combat Threats
The United States and Israel face many of the same threats, including the proliferation of weapons of
mass destruction, state-sponsored terrorism and the spread of Islamic radicalism. The two countries
have set up a complex and cost-effective network of strategic cooperation programs, including sharing
cutting-edge technology and valuable intelligence, conducting combined military exercises, and
researching and developing new weapons.
The United States and Israel have also established joint anti-terrorism strategies. The United States has
pre-positioned materiel in Israel for use in the event the United States ever needs to respond quickly to
a future Middle East conflict. Through these cooperative efforts and the provision of advanced military
equipment, the United States has committed to maintaining Israel’s qualitative military edge over its
The United States and Israel Maintain a Robust Economic Partnership
As Israel’s economy and technological prowess continue to grow, America will continue to benefit
from the wide-ranging economic partnership enjoyed by the two countries. Clearly, the United States
and Israel are two of the most technologically advanced countries in the world.
Several bi-national programs allow American companies and universities to benefit from Israel’s
expertise in agriculture and high technology, while others aim to break down barriers to trade and
cooperation between the two countries to make collaboration easier. Israel was the first country to sign
a free-trade agreement with the United States in 1985, which has resulted in a seven-fold increase in
trade between the two nations.
American Israel Public Affairs Committee 16
The Peace Process
Israel’s 60-Year Quest for Peace
Even before Israel was established, the leaders of the Jewish community in then-British Mandate
Palestine sought peace with their Arab neighbors. The State of Israel has remained committed to
that goal throughout its history, repeatedly demonstrating its desire to live side-by-side with
neighboring states and peoples. Israel’s willingness to trade land for peace has led to peace
treaties with Egypt and Jordan. Likewise, Israel proved its willingness to make bold, painful
concessions in order to secure agreements that it hoped would end the conflict with the
Palestinians. The current Israeli government continues on this path.
1918 - 1919 – Early Zionists Reach Out to Arabs
Chaim Weizmann, who was to become the first president of Israel, led a mission to Cairo in 1918 to meet with
leading Syrian Arab nationalists. He expressed the Jewish people’s desire to live in harmony with the Arabs. The
following year, he entered into an agreement with the Arab nationalist leader Emir Faisal, in which the two
agreed to support each other’s nationalist
1937 – Jews Accept Peel
In 1937, Israel’s future Prime Minister David
Ben-Gurion accepted the recommendations of
the official British Peel Commission report as a
basis for negotiations. The Commission
allocated a very small percentage of Palestine to
a Jewish state, while most of the country would
have gone to an Arab state and Jerusalem would
have remained under the British Mandate. David Ben-Gurion, Israel’s first prime minister, reads the Jewish state’s
The Arab governments vehemently rejected declaration of independence in 1948.
1947 – Jews Accept U.N. Partition Plan
The Jewish community of Palestine, and Zionists worldwide, accepted the partition plan approved by the United
Nations that would create a Jewish state alongside an Arab state. They accepted that the plan although the Jewish
American Israel Public Affairs Committee 18
state it envisioned was truncated and non-contiguous, without Jerusalem. The Arab states rejected the U.N.
resolution, invading Israel in 1948 with the explicit purpose of destroying the Jewish state. Israel won the war.
1948 – A State is Born
Declaring independence, David Ben-
Gurion, Israel’s first Prime Minister, said
Israel would “extend the hand of peace to
all its neighbors” as well as “full and
equal citizenship and due representation”
for the non-Jewish population.
1967 – Israel’s Offer to
Withdraw is Rejected
Days after successfully defending itself
in the Six-Day War, Israel offered to
return captured territories in return for
peace treaties. Egypt and Syria
immediately rejected the offer, as did the In 1994, Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin (left) and Jordan’s King
rest of the Arab League countries. Hussein (right), with the help of President Bill Clinton, signed a peace
1978 – Israel Signs Camp David
Accords with Egypt
Israel agreed to return the entire Sinai Peninsula, an area more than twice the size of Israel, to Egypt in return for
a peace agreement and normalization of relations. In 1979, Egypt and Israel signed a Treaty of Peace – the first
such treaty between Israel and an Arab country.
1993 – Israel Inks Oslo Agreement
Israel granted the Palestinians unprecedented authority over Gaza and parts of the West Bank and commenced
negotiations designed to end the conflict between Israelis and Palestinians in exchange for a Palestinian
agreement to recognize Israel and end terrorism.
1994 – Israel Establishes Peace with Jordan
Jordan’s King Hussein and Israel’s Yitzhak Rabin signed a treaty of peace. Jordan became the second Arab state
to formally come to terms with Israel.
2000 – Israel Makes Historic Offer for Peace
Following talks at Camp David, Yasir Arafat rejected Israel’s far-reaching peace offer and the Palestinians
launched sustained terrorist attacks. Nevertheless, by the end of 2000, Israel agreed to President Clinton’s
American Israel Public Affairs Committee 19
proposals for a final peace between Israel and the Palestinians: Israel would cede all of Gaza, 96% of the West
Bank and additional territory from within pre-1967 Israel, recognize an independent Palestinian state, cede parts
of eastern Jerusalem to serve as the Palestinian capital, and recognize the right of Palestinian refugees to return to
a new Palestinian state. Arafat rejected these proposals as well.
Israel also offered Syria a peace deal in which Israel would withdraw from the Golan Heights, but the deal was
2000 – Israel Unilaterally Withdraws from Lebanon
With backing from the United States, Israel unilaterally withdrew from southern Lebanon after 18 years of
maintaining a security zone to prevent attacks on its northern communities. Israel’s step toward peace was met
with a massive military buildup by the terrorist group Hizballah, which regularly fired rockets into Israel and
launched a war against the Jewish state in the summer of 2006 by ambushing and killing three IDF soldiers in
Israeli territory and abducting from Israel and subsequently killing two more soldiers.
2005 – Israel Unilaterally Withdraws from Gaza
With U.S. support, Israel took a historic step and unilaterally withdrew from Gaza, and parts of the West Bank,
providing the Palestinians with an unprecedented chance to prove their intention to fight terrorism and govern
effectively. Unfortunately, the Israeli step has been met by nearly 7,000 rockets and mortars fired from Hamas-
2007 – Israel Extends Hand in Peace at Annapolis Conference
At the U.S.-sponsored Annapolis conference, Israel reiterated its commitment to peaceful negotiations with the
Palestinians and Arab states. Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert said he believes “that there is no path other than
the path of peace. I believe that there is no just solution other than the solution of two national states for two
2008 – Israel Continues to Seek Peace Despite Daily Attacks
Despite daily Hamas rocket fire and other terrorist attacks against its civilians during the year, Israel held
intensive negotiations with the Palestinian Authority to reach an agreement covering all remaining issues.
2009-2010 – Israel Endorses Demilitarized Palestinian State; Implements Settlement
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu formally endorsed the creation of a demilitarized Palestinian state
and announced a 10-month moratorium on the construction of new homes in the West Bank.
American Israel Public Affairs Committee 20
Key Principles of the Peace
The United States and Israel have long
shared the goal of establishing peace
between Israel and all of its Arab neighbors,
including the Palestinians. For decades, the
United States has engaged in diplomatic
efforts to facilitate negotiations between
Israelis and Arabs.
Throughout these efforts, successful
American diplomacy has been founded on
President Obama and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin
several core principles. These remain key to
Netanyahu have pledged to work closely on the issues
improving the likelihood for future success facing both nations, including peace efforts.
in Israeli-Arab talks.
Key Principles Vital As Direct Peace
America’s approach has been based on the Talks Resume
following elements: (1) successful peacemaking Now that Israel and the Palestinian Authority
requires close U.S.-Israel coordination during all (PA) have resumed direct peace talks, these key
phases; (2) the parties to the Arab-Israeli dispute principles should continue to ground efforts by
need to engage in face-to-face, sustained Washington and Jerusalem as they explore ways
negotiations; (3) no outside party—including the to advance Israeli-Palestinian negotiations aimed
United States—can impose an agreement; (4) at solving the conflict.
Arab parties can play a key positive role by
normalizing relations with Israel and backing
Palestinians committed to peace with Israel; (5) The U.S. and Israel Should Work Together
the United States maintains all elements of its The chief guiding principle is that the United
close alliance with Israel even as it attempts to States and Israel must always work together,
help broker agreements; and (6) the United even if they are not in full agreement on every
States will support basic policies that protect the issue. Israel has been able to be more flexible in
character and security of the Jewish state. negotiations with the Arabs when it has great
confidence in its relationship with the United
States. Efforts to go around or pressure Israel on
issues relating to its security and survival are
American Israel Public Affairs Committee 21
destined to backfire. When the United States and While the United States should be sensitive to
Israel closely coordinate their approaches to the needs of both parties to negotiations, it
peacemaking and avoid surprises, the chances should not adopt a posture of “evenhandedness”
for success increase, as evidenced by the peace between its ally, Israel, and other parties. The
agreements with Egypt and Jordan. United States should continue to approach
negotiations with an acceptance of Israel’s need
The United States promotes negotiations in a for secure, recognized and defensible borders,
variety of critical ways. The United States often with the understanding that Israel must
hosts talks, and is obviously in close contact determine its own security requirements.
with regional and international partners. It can Negotiations should also be premised on the
help rally support for negotiations and belief that a final-status agreement between
opposition to parties trying to undermine them. Israel and a Palestinian state would entail the
In the case of Israel’s negotiations with the end of all claims between the parties. America’s
Palestinians, the United States can help isolate approach—including its special relationship
the terrorist organization Hamas until it with Israel—is an asset to the negotiations
forswears terror, accepts Israel’s right to exist process, and has historically made the United
and accepts prior Israeli-Palestinian agreements. States the only outside party trusted by both
sides to be an effective mediator.
An enduring The United States can act to help the parties in a
fair-minded way, and urge them to maintain
solution the conflict their commitments. With respect to the
Palestinians, it can support moderate leaders
cannot be imposed without abandoning its insistence that the
Palestinian Authority decisively act to halt
by outside parties. violence, incitement and terrror. In fact, this
continued support is more likely to lead to
breakthroughs in Israeli-Palestinian negotiations
The United States also can help break logjams in because Israel will be more willing to take risks
the negotiations at key moments by working for peace when its security requirements are
together with both sides. It can encourage the being addressed and when the United States is
parties to work out their own solutions to backing its efforts.
problems by limiting the U.S. role to that of a
facilitator, offering bridging proposals once the
parties are quite close but need American help to Direct Talks—Not Imposed Solutions—Are
break through logjams. Necessary for Success
An enduring solution to the Israeli-Palestinian
conflict must arise from the parties themselves,
American Israel Public Affairs Committee 22
and cannot be imposed by the United States or
other outside parties, as President Obama made
clear at the outset of the new round of talks.
“The United States will put our full weight
behind this effort,” he said. “We will be an
active and sustained participant. We will
support those who make difficult choices in
pursuit of peace. But let me very clear.
Ultimately the United States cannot impose a
solution, and we cannot want it more than the
parties themselves.” A deal can only work if
both parties enter into it willingly, feel vested in
it and intend to implement it. Without buy-in
from the two parties and the publics they
represent, no accord will be viable. That is why
direct, sustained bilateral negotiations—which
can be facilitated by the United States—are still
the best way forward.
Hamas, which took over Gaza from the PA, is
Arab States Must Play a Role in Supporting carrying out attacks aimed at scuttling peace
The Arab states have a vital role in supporting
Israeli-Palestinain negotiations. To play a
positive role in fostering such efforts, it is The U.S.-Israel Relationship Transcends the
critical for the Arab states to accept Israel’s right Peace Process
to exist within secure and recognized boundaries Beyond the peace process, the United States and
as stipulated by U.N. Security Council Israel have a deep alliance based on common
Resolution 242, work toward normalizing values that benefits both countries. The two
relations with Israel and support Palestinian allies share intelligence, have extensive defense
leaders committed to peace. The Arab states can cooperation and work to counter the shared
also help support negotiations by taking threats of terrorism and proliferation. It is
sustained efforts to combat terrorists who are critical that this vital cooperation is maintained
seeking to undermine peace efforts. And the irrespective of the daily ups and downs of
United States should press Arab states to pay Israel’s negotiations with its Arab neighbors.
their long-overdue pledges to the PA, which are
critical to its continued functioning and to a Similarly, the United States should maintain our
future Palestinian state. position as a trusted ally of Israel, providing the
American Israel Public Affairs Committee 23
support and assurance so vital to Israeli leaders discussions will lead to U.S. pressure on Israel.
as they consider tough compromises for peace. Instead, the administration must make it crystal
Differences should be worked out with Israel clear at the outset that the United States expects
privately. Public differences have allowed the the negotiations to continue without threats or
Palestinians to stall U.S. efforts to get the sides walkouts.
back to the negotiating table.
Critical for Congress to Support Time-
Palestinian Threats to Leave Talks Not Honored Principles
Helpful As Israel and the PA pursue this new round of
In November 2007, the Bush administration talks, the United States and Israel should
launched a new diplomatic initiative in continue the close cooperation that has
Annapolis, which led to formal negotiations characterized the current diplomatic process thus
between Israeli and Palestinian officials, with far. The United States also should remain
the backing of the Arab states. The goal of the supportive of moderate Palestinians interested in
talks was to try to reach a comprehensive peace making peace with Israel and helping their
agreement by the end of 2008. people prosper.
When Israel was forced to launch a defensive
operation again Hamas rocket attacks at the end
of 2008, the PA refused to continue talking even Abbas must drop
though Olmert had offered an unprecedented
peace deal to Abbas, who had refused calls by
his threats to leave
the United States and Israel to return to the
negotiating table until now.
His decision to sit down with Israeli Prime
In this context, Congress and the executive branch
Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is welcome, and
should continue to closely adhere to the principles
both sides face hard work and difficult choices.
outlined above. The United States can maintain its
Abbas must drop his threats to withdraw at the
special relationship with Israel while supporting
first sign of difficulty or to impose conditions
the efforts of moderate Palestinian leaders to
combat extremists and build their economy and
civil society. An American position consistent with
The issues to be resolved—borders, settlements,
our historic principles offers the best chance of
Jerusalem, refugees and security—are difficult
helping both Israelis and Palestinians ultimately
and will require sustained effort and
compromise. Abbas should not be given any
cause to think that his withdrawal from tough
American Israel Public Affairs Committee 24
U.S. Foreign Aid: Serving
“It has become clear that America’s civilian Foreign aid, at about one percent of federal
institutions of diplomacy and development have spending, is an essential, cost-effective tool
been chronically undermanned and underfunded for promoting American interests abroad and
for far too long – relative to what we supporting our vital allies such as Israel. A
traditionally spend on the military, and more robust international affairs and foreign aid
important, relative to the responsibilities and budget reflects our humanitarian and
challenges our nation has around the democratic values and is critical to
world.…For the first time in a long time, I sense bolstering American national security and to
real bipartisan support in Congress for building overseas markets for American
strengthening the civilian foreign affairs goods and service and, in turn, creating jobs
budget.” here at home.
— Secretary of Defense Robert Gates (July 15, 2008,
U.S. Global Leadership Campaign Tribute Dinner) Key Principles of Foreign Aid
Foreign Aid Bolsters American Security
Foreign aid is an essential component of U.S.
national security strategy that
supplements our defense budget.
Foreign aid advances economic
development and political stability in
countries where radical opponents of
peace use terror in an effort to
destroy the prospects for
reconciliation. Foreign aid programs
help keep threats from our shores by
supporting international efforts to
curb the proliferation of weapons of
mass destruction, stop narcotics
trafficking, fight terrorism and thwart
other criminal activities.
American Israel Public Affairs Committee 26
For decades, U.S. Foreign Aid Spurs Assistance from Our
presidents and As the world’s sole superpower, the U.S. plays
an indispensable role in the world. Nonetheless,
lawmakers from we cannot and should not have to act alone.
When the United States tangibly demonstrates
both parties have its commitment to play an active leadership role,
it is often able to secure the assistance of others,
strongly backed thus reducing America’s financial share.
foreign aid. Foreign Aid Creates Jobs Here at Home
By law, nearly all U.S. assistance must be spent
on American-produced items. U.S. jobs that
Foreign Aid Promotes Peace and Democracy produce U.S. exports pay more: an estimated 13
In the Middle East, and in other regions, U.S. aid percent to 18 percent more than the U.S.
bolsters friendly countries as they take national average. Aid helps developing nations
substantial risks for peace after decades of establish fair business codes, viable commercial
violent confrontation. The United States banks and reasonable tax and tariff standards.
provides critical security assistance to Israel, This assistance helps create the necessary stable
which helps the Jewish state maintain its business environment and uniform standards for
qualitative military edge and feel secure in U.S. companies to operate.
pursuing diplomatic talks with the Palestinians
and Arab states such as Syria.
American Israel Public Affairs Committee 27
Foreign Aid Supports Transitions to implement the 2007 U.S.-Israeli Memorandum
Democracy of Understanding that calls for the United States
Foreign aid helps stabilize the economies of to provide $30 billion in assistance to Israel
fledgling democracies and assist them in during the next decade.
developing open and free political institutions.
Democracy-building programs in Central
America and Eastern Europe help organize free
and fair elections, support due process, train Foreign aid is being
future leaders and protect human rights. Foreign
aid is being targeted to root out corruption in
targeted to root out
countries all over the world and help them build
accountable governments and free market
economies. countries all over
Foreign Aid Supports our Humanitarian the world and to
Through our foreign aid program, the U.S. has help build
led the world in supporting programs to reduce
the spread of HIV/AIDS and other diseases.
U.S. aid fights poverty and promotes economic
and social development through programs that
provide disaster relief, food aid and clean water free market
to communities across the globe. Through this
aid the U.S. reaches the most vulnerable economies.
populations and helps to create self-sufficient
economies and empower women and the most
disadvantaged. President Obama and Congress should work to
provide the necessary resources to support the
Bipartisan Support for Foreign Aid vital foreign aid and diplomatic programs that
For decades, presidents and lawmakers from will help the United States maintain a strong
both parties have strongly backed foreign aid leadership position around the world.
and recognized its vital role in promoting U.S.
foreign policy goals abroad. Over the past eight
years, led by President George W. Bush, the
U.S. has increased funding for foreign aid from
$15 billion to $26 billion. President Obama has
pledged to double U.S. foreign assistance
spending by 2012 while also committing to
American Israel Public Affairs Committee 28
Boost in U.S. Aid to Israel Vital
Amid Increasing Threats
U.S. security assistance to Israel in the
annual foreign aid bill is the most tangible
manifestation of American support for
Israel’s qualitative military edge. U.S.
assistance helps counter the great disparity
in defense spending between Israel and
Israel is finding it increasingly expensive to
keep pace with military challenges ranging
from an Iran seeking nuclear-weapons
capability to terrorist groups like Hamas and
Hizballah. Implementation of a 2007 U.S.-
Israeli security agreement, which pledges to
provide Israel with $30 billion in military
assistance during the next decade, is vital to
ensuring that Israel can prevail over those
adversaries that threaten the Jewish state
and work to undermine U.S. interests in the Israel spends more on defense as a
region. percentage of gross domestic product than
any other major industrialized nation.
Agreement Aims to Help Israel Meet In 2007, the United States and Israel signed a
Increased Threats 10-year Memorandum of Understanding (MOU)
American officials have recognized that while that calls for the U.S. to provide $30 billion in
foreign aid has remained a cornerstone of the security assistance during the next 10 years.
U.S.-Israel relationship for decades, in recent Under the agreement, Israel is slated to receive
years the two countries have taken steps to gradual increases in aid during the first four
solidify that commitment in order to ensure that years – before leveling off at $3.1 billion for the
the Jewish state has the means to defend itself remaining six years.
for years to come.
American Israel Public Affairs Committee 29
First U.S.-Israeli MOU Phased Out domestic product than any other nation in the
Israel’s Economic Aid industrialized world. Israel is spending eight
The 2007 MOU was inked as the first 10-year percent of its GDP on defense, or nearly double
plan signed by President Bill Clinton and Israeli the percentage the United States spends.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in 1998 However, the actual costs to the Israeli economy
was coming to an end. The earlier agreement are much higher, when one takes into account
eliminated U.S. economic aid while gradually lost productivity and the need for reserve duty,
increasing military assistance. internal security and anti-terrorism spending.
The 2007 agreement reflected the two countries’
recognition of a series of new threats and
changing realities in the region, including the
terrorist threat from Hamas and Hizballah and
the prospect of a nuclear-armed Iran.
The 2007 MOU, signed by then-Undersecretary
of State Nicholas Burns and Bank of Israel
Governor Stanley Fischer, notes that foreign aid
enhances the “political, security and economic
interests of both countries” and that the two
nations “intend to continue their active dialogue
on security and economic policy in existing
Israel is Boosting Its Own Defense
A potential nuclear-armed Iran. Waves of
Hamas rocket attacks from Gaza against Israeli Israel has committed to a 10-year plan of
civilians. A resurgent Hizballah armed with sustained increases in its own defense spending
40,000 rockets aimed at Israel. These are just to accompany the expected growth in U.S.
some of the unprecedented threats that Israel, security assistance. Israel is slated to spend $150
along with the United States, is facing. And they billion on defense during the next decade, a 50
require considerably more resources and military percent increase over the previous 10-year
expenditures than the Jewish state has had to period.
marshal in its recent history.
Spiraling defense costs are forcing Israel to
spend more on defense as a percentage of gross
American Israel Public Affairs Committee 30
Israel’s Defense Costs Have Risen
Markedly The military
This increased spending comes as overall
military spending has accelerated throughout the
hardware that Israel
Middle East, fueled by windfall oil profits. From
2002 to 2006, the growth rate of Saudi Arabia’s
needs to maintain
military budget was almost six times that of its qualitative
Israel’s, while Iran’s growth rate of military
spending grew 16 times more than that of military edge is
more complex and
The military hardware—including American-
built advanced fighter aircraft and naval
vessels—that the IDF must acquire over the next
decade to maintain its qualitative military edge
is more complex, diverse and expensive than
Congress, Obama Have Strongly Backed
The most recent U.S.-produced front-line fighter
President Barack Obama has strongly supported
aircraft deployed by Israel—the F-16I—cost $45
the 2007 agreement. “I will ensure that Israel
million a piece. By comparison the U.S. F-35
can defend itself from any threat from Gaza to
Joint Strike Fighter, which Israel is seeking to
Tehran,” he said in a June 2008 speech. “As
purchase in the next decade, may cost up to
president, I will implement a memorandum of
$100 million each.
understanding that provides $30 billion in
assistance to Israel over the next decade,
Despite these costs, both countries have long
investments to Israel’s security that will not be
recognized that their mutual interests in
tied to any other nation.”
deterring war, promoting stability and eventually
achieving peace are only possible if the United
Late last year, President Obama signed into law
States continues to help ensure Israel’s
a total of $2.775 billion in security assistance to
qualitative military edge over its potential
Israel for fiscal year 2010, marking the second
year of the MOU. As part of his fiscal year
2011 budget, the president has requested $3
billion in aid to Israel. This is in line with the
funding level called for in the third year of the
American Israel Public Affairs Committee 31
Increased Threats, Increased Costs:
Iranian and Syrian RESPONSE:
ballistic missiles Improve missile
Iran continues to
improve its Shihab-3 Israel must focus on
and other ballistic developing the next gen-
missiles, which are eration Arrow missile
capable of striking defense system capable
Israel, U.S. troops in the region and parts of of countering threats outside the atmosphere and,
Europe. At the same time, Syria continues more immediately, deploy more accurate and
to perfect its most sophisticated missile—the longer-range ballistic missile interceptors. The IDF
Scud-D—the longest-range weapon in its arsenal is planning to spend $1 billion, including U.S.
that can hit all of Israel and be deployed with a assistance, during the next five years on various
chemical warhead. missile defense programs.
THREAT: ISRAEL’S RESPONSE:
Short- and medium- Improve rocket
range rockets defenses
Hamas and other Israel plans to invest
Palestinian terrorists close to $1 billion dur-
are targeting Israeli ing the next several
civilians on a daily years to develop
basis with Qassam rockets and longer-range, improved rocket defense systems, including the
Iranian-supplied Katyusha-style rockets. Hizballah “Iron Dome” to combat short-range rockets and
has amassed 40,000 Katyushas and medium-range the jointly developed U.S.-Israeli “David’s Sling,”
rockets such as the Iranian “Zelzal,” while Syria designed to protect against rockets and missiles
has 100,000 short- and medium-range rockets. fired from a range of 25 miles to 150 miles.
THREAT: ISRAEL’S RESPONSE:
Sophisticated anti- Enhance aircraft
aircraft weapons capabilities
Palestinian terrorists Purchase premier com-
are acquiring better bat aircraft for the 21st
short-range shoulder- century, the Joint Strike
launched anti-aircraft Fighter F-35. Israel will
missiles, while Syria and Iran are fielding new order 25 planes this year, with a goal to eventually
Russian radar-guided air defense systems. have a force three times that size. Each plane, with
Meanwhile, Persian Gulf states are upgrading their Israeli modifications, may cost as much as $100
fleets of sophisticated combat aircraft. million—double the price of its immediate prede-
cessor, the F-16I.
Israel’s Urgent Defense Requirements
Advanced anti-tank RESPONSE:
weapons Better-protect tanks
and other vehicles
Syria, Hizballah and
Palestinian terrorist The IDF must better
groups are using protect its Merkava
advanced Russian tanks and increase the
and Iranian anti-tank size and readiness of its
missiles. These guided weapons were used with armored units. Israel plans to build dozens of
deadly effect against the IDF in Lebanon during Merkava IV tanks ($4.5 million each) and deploy
the war with Hizballah and pose a mounting risk hundreds of heavy Namer armored troop vehicles
to Israeli armored forces. ($1.5 million each). By comparison, the vulnerable
armored carriers from the 1970s used by Israel
cost $400,000 each.
THREAT: ISRAEL’S RESPONSE:
Targets harder to Purchase ‘smart’
locate and destroy U.S. munitions
Israel’s adversaries Late last year, Israel
are increasingly adept signed a deal to pur-
at concealing and pro- chase $1.3 billion worth
tecting their facilities of American-guided
such as rocket bunkers and command centers. missiles and smart bombs able to destroy deeply
As terrorist groups such as Hamas and Hizballah buried sites with pinpoint accuracy. The package,
become more sophisticated, Israel also is forced to which will be paid for and delivered during the
expend more munitions amid battles that are next few years, includes 2,000 TOW missiles,
longer and more intense. 1,700 Hellfire II anti-tank missiles and 100,000
rounds of 155mm high-explosive shells.
THREAT: ISRAEL’S RESPONSE:
Increased Expand naval fleet
The Israeli Navy must
As neighboring navies expand its fleet by pur-
are rapidly moderniz- chasing two U.S.
ing, Israel faces a Littoral Combat Ships.
decrease in its ability When outfitted with the
to secure strategic depth via naval power and latest weaponry and electronic gear, these
protect vital trade routes while also trying to state-of-the-art vessels will cost close to $400
address the growing challenge of weapons being million each. This represents a 54 percent increase
smuggled to terrorists in Gaza via the sea. over Israel’s most recent ship purchase from the
United States, the Saar 5 missile corvette, which
cost $260 million each in the 1990s.
Key Provisions of U.S. Security
Assistance to Israel
Several provisions included in the annual State Department-Foreign Operations Appropriations
Bill help Israel maximize the benefits of U.S. assistance. Below is a brief explanation of the key
provisions or terms used when discussing American assistance to Israel.
Foreign Military Financing (FMF)
All of Israel’s aid now comes in the form of military
assistance through the FMF program.
This provision in the annual foreign aid bill allows
Israel to receive its security assistance at the beginning
of the fiscal year, rather than as military purchases are
made over time. Under this provision, Israel receives
its full allotment of security assistance at the
U.S. aid to Israel enables the Jewish state to purchase
beginning of the fiscal year or 30 days after final
equipment that maintains its qualitative military edge.
enactment of the bill, whichever is later.
Under this provision, Israel is allowed to spend a portion of its security assistance to buy military hardware
within Israel. The “offshore procurement” provision gives Israel the flexibility to use “no less than” 26.3
percent of American military aid to purchase home-grown equipment designed specifically to meet the
array of threats Israel faces. Offshore procurement helps Israel preserve its military industrial base, which is
critical to its national security.
Qualitative Military Edge
For decades, the United States has been committed to maintaining Israel’s “qualitative military edge,”
which has been defined by Congress as Israel’s “ability to counter and defeat any credible conventional
military threat from any individual state or possible coalition of states or from non-state actors.” Direct U.S.
security assistance provided in the annual foreign aid bill is the most tangible way that the United States
American Israel Public Affairs Committee 34
helps Israel maintain its military superiority and counters the great disparity in defense spending between
Israel and potential adversaries in the Middle East.
Refugee Resettlement Grant
The U.S. government provides an annual grant (now $30 million) to the Jewish Agency/United Israel
Appeal to help transport and resettle immigrants within Israel. Today, these funds are primarily used for the
absorption of immigrants from Ethiopia.
Congress can mandate (not just recommend) that a specific amount of money shall be spent for a
specific purpose. For Israel each year, Congress mandates that “no less than” the slated level of aid for
that fiscal year “shall” be provided. Israel’s annual earmark is a programmatic one and differs from the
special project earmarks that have been the source of much controversy.
The United States and Israel signed a 10-year security agreement in August 2007 aimed at boosting U.S.
security assistance to help Israel deal with increasing threats. Under the plan, Israel received $2.55 billion in
fiscal year 2009, the first year of the decade-long program, and $2.775 billion in fiscal year 2010, the
second year of the program. The plan calls for Israel to receive $3 billion in fiscal year 2011 and $3.075
billion in fiscal year 2012 before leveling off at $3.1 billion for the remaining six years. In 1998, the U.S.
and Israeli governments agreed to the first 10-year plan to restructure U.S. assistance to Israel. Under this
plan, U.S. economic aid to Israel was gradually phased out while the level of security assistance was
gradually increased from $1.8 billion in 1999 to $2.4 billion in 2008.
American Israel Public Affairs Committee 35
The Iranian Nuclear Threat
Iran’s nearly twenty-year secret nuclear
program was exposed by an exile group in
2002, and subsequently confirmed by
inspectors from the International Atomic
Energy Agency (IAEA). More than seven
years and six United Nations Security
Council Resolutions later, the United States
continues to lead the international effort to
halt Tehran’s uranium enrichment program
and other activities that could lead to a
nuclear weapon. Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has repeatedly
said Iran will not end its uranium enrichment.
As the leading state sponsor of terrorism, a that America has ever enacted to date –
nuclear-armed Iran would pose unacceptable legislation that Congress passed days earlier
threats to global security. The regime’s brutal with near-unanimous majorities.
suppression of its own people protesting the
June 2009 presidential elections has shown the Iran Nearing a Nuclear-Arms Capability
world the true nature of the regime and has In 2006, Iran announced that it had successfully
heightened the urgency of stopping Iran’s begun enriching uranium. By September 2010,
nuclear efforts before they reach fruition. Iran the IAEA released a report showing that Iran
has refused to hold serious talks with the United had stockpiled more than 5,300 pounds of low-
States and other world powers while continuing enriched uranium (LEU) that—if further
to enrich uranium in defiance of U.N. Security enriched to weapons-grade level—is enough for
Council resolutions. Iran dismissed the 2009 three nuclear bombs.
end-of-the-year deadline set by the
administration and its allies for Tehran to accept Furthermore, Iran has begun converting its
a deal offered by the United Nations to export stockpile of low enriched uranium (uranium gas
the majority of its enriched uranium in exchange enriched to 3.5 percent) into a higher enriched
for nuclear fuel. On June 9, 2010, the U.N. uranium of 20 percent. Enrichment to the 20
Security Council passed sixth resolution on percent level represents 85 to 90 percent of the
Iran’s nuclear program that imposes significant work needed to produce weapons-grade fuel.
new sanctions on the regime. On July 1, 2010,
President Obama signed into law one of the The IAEA report also said Iran possesses more
most comprehensive and toughest sanctions bills than 6,700 centrifuges—machines that spin at
American Israel Public Affairs Committee 38
supersonic speeds to enrich the uranium needed Iran’s Green Salt Project, an alleged clandestine
to build a nuclear bomb. By increasing the Iranian entity focusing on uranium processing,
number of centrifuges, Iran can reduce the time high explosives and a missile warhead design,
it needs to produce enough highly enriched remains a matter of serious concern and critical
uranium (HEU) for nuclear weapons. to an assessment of a possible military
dimension to Iran’s nuclear program. Iran
Iran has tested more efficient and advanced reportedly conducted research and tests on a
centrifuge models, and its stated goal is to neutron initiator using uranium deuteride (UD3).
assemble more than 50,000 centrifuges for The only application for UD3 is as a neutron
industrial-scale enrichment, which would enable source to trigger an atomic chain reaction in a
Iran to produce enough HEU for up to 50 nuclear warhead.
nuclear warheads per year.
In September 2009, the United States disclosed
Iran was constructing a secret uranium
A nuclear-armed enrichment facility. The size of the facility is
insufficient to produce needed fuel for a nuclear
Iran would power reactor, but ideal to produce (HEU) for at
least one bomb a year, and perhaps more. Iran
constitute an has also been conducting research and tests on
technologies needed to deliver a nuclear
existential threat to weapon, including the rapid advancement of its
long-range ballistic missile and space program.
Israel, but would not Tehran has also upped its violent rhetoric and
threaten Israel only. military tests, including war games, rocket and
land-mobile missile tests and threats to close the
Straits of Hormuz.
Iranian Nuclear Activities Have No A Nuclear Iran Would Destabilize the
Civilian Purpose World
In addition, inspectors from the IAEA have A nuclear-armed Iran would constitute an
uncovered evidence that Iran has carried out a existential threat to Israel, but would not
number of nuclear activities with no known threaten Israel only. It would likely lead to
civilian energy purposes. Iran has experimented nuclear proliferation elsewhere in the region and
with polonium, an element whose primary use is around the globe while fundamentally altering
to trigger nuclear explosions, and continues to the strategic balance of the Middle East, a vital
block IAEA inspections of numerous nuclear region for U.S. national security interests.
American Israel Public Affairs Committee 39
Nuclear Weapons Would Embolden the
The repression of Iranian protestors after the
disputed presidential elections shows the true
nature of the Iranian regime: a brutal theocratic
dictatorship. Possessing a nuclear weapons
capability would only serve to embolden this
regime, allowing it to extend its influence
throughout the region as part of its hegemonic
ambitions. A nuclear-armed Iran would feel
confident in further intensifying its support for
terrorist allies like Syria, Hamas and Hizballah,
which are actively working to undermine U.S.
interests and peace efforts. Iran could also share
its nuclear technology with anti-American
terrorist groups to carry out attacks against U.S.
A Nuclear Iran Would Destabilize Pro- Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has
Western Arab States repeatedly called for Israel’s destruction.
Arab countries with strong ties to the United
advanced ballistic missile technology and build
States are terrified of Iran achieving a nuclear
missiles capable of striking the United States
weapons capability. Gulf countries in particular
and Western Europe.
fear that Iran will use its nuclear umbrella to
intimidate them and radicalize their people. Iran
Nuclear Iran Would Spur Regional Arms
might never need to actually use a nuclear
Race, Kill Non-Proliferation Regime
weapon; the mere potential might persuade its
Iran’s acquisition of nuclear weapons also would
neighbors to do Iran’s bidding and further
likely touch off a regional nuclear arms race.
distance themselves from the United States.
Indeed, many Arab states have expressed new
interest in “peaceful” nuclear programs as Iran
Nuclear Arms, Missiles Would Pose Major
continues its nuclear weapons pursuit. This
Threat to U.S.
heightened interest in nuclear technology would
By combining a nuclear weapon with its ballistic
likely spread beyond the Middle East, marking
missile program—already capable of targeting
the death knell of the global non-proliferation
American troops in the Middle East and parts of
regime. A world in which nuclear weapons have
Europe—Iran also would pose a serious nuclear
spread widely would be a much more dangerous
threat to the United States and its allies. Such a
place and exponentially increase the likelihood
threat would increase as Iran is able to perfect
that such weapons might actually be used.
American Israel Public Affairs Committee 40
A Look Back: U.S. Action to
Prevent a Nuclear Iran
For more than 15 years, the United States has played a central role in international efforts to stop
Iran’s ballistic missile and nuclear weapons programs. Since 1992, Congress has passed some 20
bills and resolutions sanctioning and condemning the regime for its support of terrorism and its
nuclear weapons pursuit. In 1995, President Clinton issued a critical executive order banning all
U.S. trade (with minor exceptions) and investments in Iran.
Key Legislation Aimed at Preventing a Nuclear-Armed Iran
The purpose of these measures has been to raise the
costs and prolong the time it would take for Iran to
acquire a nuclear weapons capability and, ultimately,
to persuade the Iranian regime to end its illicit
activities. These moves have hampered Iran’s ability to
attract needed foreign investment and have isolated the
regime. But there are important additional steps the
United States can still take to prevent a nuclear-armed
Iran, which would present a major threat to the United
States and international community.
In 1992, Congress passed the Iran-Iraq
Nonproliferation Act, a law which requires the Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad inspects the Natanz
nuclear facility where Tehran continues to enrich uranium in
president to impose sanctions against nations that defiance of the U.N. Security Council.
knowingly supply Iran or Iraq with technology that
could contribute to their acquisition of nuclear, biological or chemical weapons. This legislation marked the
first in a series of bills that would sanction Iran for its defiance of the international community. The following
are other key pieces of legislation passed in the subsequent 16 years:
Iran and Libya Sanctions Act of 1996
The law mandates that the United States impose sanctions on companies that invest more than $20 million
per year in Iran or Libya’s petroleum sectors. It represents a landmark bill that served as the cornerstone for
future efforts to isolate Iran, providing the executive branch with a critical tool to deter companies from
investing in Iran’s energy sector, the lifeblood of the regime.
American Israel Public Affairs Committee 41
Iran Missile Proliferation Sanctions Act of
Passed by Congress but vetoed by President Clinton,
the legislation was subsequently largely incorporated as
a presidential executive order. It permits the president
to sanction foreign companies that have transferred
missile technology to Iran.
Iran Nonproliferation Act of 2000
The law requires the president to report and sanction
foreign companies that have transferred missile
technology to Iran. It also requires the president to
certify that the Russian government opposes the
proliferation of weapons of mass destruction before
America provides additional money to the Russian
Space Agency for the International Space Station.
ILSA Extension Act of 2001
The law authorized a 5-year extension of the Iran and
Libya Sanctions Act (ILSA), which mandates the
imposition of U.S. sanctions on companies that invest The United States has sanctioned Iran’s Bank Melli
in an effort to isolate Iran from the international
significantly in Iran or Libya’s petroleum sectors.
Iran Nonproliferation Amendments Act of 2005
The law strengthens and expands the Iran Nonproliferation Act of 2000 by authorizing sanctions on
any entity that aids a potential Syrian nuclear weapons program and on any weapons of mass
destruction-related technology and equipment exported from Iran or Syria.
Iran Freedom Support Act of 2006
The law extends for five years existing sanctions – passed under the Iran and Libya Sanctions Act of 1996,
which was renamed the Iran Sanctions Act – on foreign companies investing more than $20 million per year
in Iran’s petroleum sector. IFSA also codifies executive orders barring U.S. firms from doing business in
and with Iran, strengthens U.S. authority to sanction entities aiding Iran’s nuclear pursuit, urges the
administration to probe investments in Iran’s petroleum sector and discourages the signing of nuclear
cooperation pacts with countries assisting Iran’s atomic program. The law also expresses support for
Iranians seeking to promote democracy in their country.
American Israel Public Affairs Committee 42
The Comprehensive Iran Sanctions, Accountability, and Divestment Act of 2010
The law constitutes the most comprehensive and toughest Iran sanctions legislation to date. It aims to stifle
Iran’s energy sector, restrict Tehran’s ability to conduct international financial transactions, and hamper its
ability to obtain components for its nuclear and missile programs. The law targets foreign firms—including
insurance, financing and shipping companies—that assist Iran in importing refined petroleum. Similarly,
new regulations require U.S. banks to restrict ties with foreign banks conducting any business with Iran’s
Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) and with any Iranian bank designated by the United States as
facilitating Iran’s illicit nuclear program or its support for terrorism.
Administration Imposes Financial and Economic Sanctions Against Iran
During the past few years, the United States government, primarily through the Treasury Department, has
sought to isolate the Iranian regime from the international financial system as a way to persuade it to change
course. The actions have included:
• cutting off four Iranian state-owned banks from the international financial system and designating the
Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) as a weapons proliferator;
• revoking Iran’s so-called “U-turn” license, a move effectively barring all Iranian financial institutions
from doing business in dollars;
• sanctioning the Export Development Bank of Iran, a key state-owned institution providing support to
Iran’s weapons program;
• discouraging foreign companies from investing in Iran’s energy sector, threatening sanctions under the
Iran Sanctions Act;
• warning financial institutions to exercise vigilance in dealing with the Central Bank of Iran because of
its assistance to Iranian proliferation and terrorist-supporting entities, including sanctioned Iranian
• sanctioning the Islamic Republic of Iran Shipping Lines (IRISL) and its 18 affiliated companies for
aiding the regime’s rogue nuclear activities.
• increasing enforcement of export control laws to prevent sensitive technologies from entering Iran.
• imposing major financial penalties on international banks aiding Iran’s circumvention of sanctions.
American Israel Public Affairs Committee 43
America Must Implement Tough
Iran Sanctions Now
Congress’ passage of the most
comprehensive and toughest Iran sanctions
legislation to date will—if implemented
promptly and aggressively—dramatically
increase the pressure on the Iranian regime
to halt its illicit pursuit of nuclear weapons.
The Comprehensive Iran Sanctions,
Accountability, and Divestment Act,
overwhelmingly passed by Congress in June
Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has called for
2010, aims to stifle Iran’s energy sector,
a world without the United States and Israel.
restrict Tehran’s ability to conduct
international financial transactions, and Financial restrictions imposed by the legislation
hamper its ability to obtain components for limit Iran’s access to the international financial
its nuclear and missile programs. Quick system. New regulations require U.S. banks to
implementation and strong enforcement by restrict ties with foreign banks conducting any
the administration hold the last best hope of business with Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary
persuading Iran to suspend its quest for Guard Corps (IRGC) and with any Iranian bank
nuclear weapons through political, designated by the United States as facilitating
economic, and diplomatic means. Iran’s illicit nuclear program or its support for
terrorism. International banks must now clear all
of their international dollar transactions—a very
New Sanctions Can Have an Impact substantial portion of their business—through
The new sanctions passed by Congress target the U.S. banking system. As a s result, these
foreign firms—including insurance, financing banks will be forced to choose between doing
and shipping companies—that assist Iran in business with the United States or with Iran.
importing refined petroleum. Indeed, the mere
threat of sanctions has led most major Many international banks previously ended
international fuel traders to exit the Iranian relations with Iran as a result of U.S. efforts. The
market. new regulations are likely to force out most of
the remaining players, leaving Iran with the
American Israel Public Affairs Committee 44
prospect of a collapse of its financial system, control systems and continue to allow sensitive
and certainly without the ability to attract technologies to be diverted to Iran will be
foreign investment. subject to new restrictions and licensing
requirments before they can receive U.S.
The IRGC, by itself, accounts for as much as 50 exports. These regulations will help to prevent
percent of the Iranian economy and is involved sensitive technologies from benefitting Iran’s
in such major sectors as energy development, nuclear program.
transportation, and Iran’s nuclear program. If The legislation also bars the president from
international banks no longer handle its financial issuing licenses for the export of U.S. civilian
transactions, both it and the Iranian economy nuclear technology to any nation helping Iran
will be severely impacted. develop a nuclear weapons capability. Countries
like Russia and the UAE will now have
Similarly, Iran’s access to components for its additional incentive to actively prevent the
nuclear and missile programs will be further transfer of nuclear and missile components to
hampered by new sanctions. For the first time, Iran.
the new sanctions address the problem of
countries that allow their territory to be used as Anticipation of New Sanctions Led Firms
diversion points to send illicit goods to Iran. The to Cut Iran Ties
director of national intelligence is now required Even before passage of the Iran sanctions, major
to identify such countries and work with them to Western firms began pulling out of Iran because
improve their export control regulations. their U.S. operations or connections to the U.S.
Countries that fail to improve their export financial system would be at risk if they
American Israel Public Affairs Committee 45
continued their Iranian operations. Glencore, Pars natural gas field. Without the facility, Iran
LUKOIL, Reliance, Vitol and Trafigura are will have significant untapped gas production
among firms that previously ended sales of capacity.
refined petroleum to Iran.
Numerous energy firms—including ENI, Statoil, President Obama Must Now Fully and
and Repsol—also announced that they would Aggressively Implement the New Law
not go forward with new investments in Iran. If fully implemented, the new sanctions
Similarly, major international insurance and legislation holds the last best hope to peacefully
reinsurance companies began ending their persuade Iran to end its illicit nuclear program.
Iranian business last year given the potential President Obama should quickly, fully and
risks of losing access to the U.S. market. aggressively implement the law, which provides
Allianz—Europe’s largest primary insurer by him with new mechanisms to increase pressure
gross premiums—and German reinsurance on Iran and companies that continue to work
company Munich Re announced in February with it.
2010 that they were suspending ties with Iran.
Companies continuing to provide Iran with
New Sanctions Already Having an Impact refined petroleum should be sanctioned,
Just days after Congress passed the new including Turkish refiner Tupras and Chinese
sanctions bill in the summer of 2010, Iran’s traders, Chinaoil and Unipec. Any Russian
international isolation grew even further. companies violating the sanctions in the wake of
France’s Total, the last major Western fuel the Russian energy minister’s announcement of
trader dealing with Iran, announced that it would continuing cooperation with Iran in the oil,
stop providing refined petroleum to Tehran. natural gas and petrochemical industries should
Both BP and Royal Dutch Shell have also be sanctioned as well.
suspended sales of jet fuel to Iran Air to comply
with the new U.S. sanctions. Tehran is now Failure to implement these sanctions will leave
having trouble refueling its airplanes at a policymakers only with two tragic options:
number of major European airports. accepting a nuclear-armed Iran or using military
action to stop it. Sanctions combined with tough
Lloyd’s of London—a major insurance market diplomacy provide the best chance to prevent
that provides 8 to 10 percent of the global having to face such a stark choice.
maritime insurance—has announced that it
would restrict insurance for any vessels shipping
petroleum to Iran. Likewise, the South Korean
firm GS Engineering & Construction announced
that it has suspended its $1.89 billion project to
construct a gas sweetening plant at Iran’s South
American Israel Public Affairs Committee 46
T H E I R A N I A N M I S S I L E T H R E AT
UKRA IN E KAZAKHSTAN
MO LDO VA
RO MAN I A
BULG ARI A UZBEKISTAN
GEORGIA K Y R GY Z S TAN
MA CED O NI A
G REECE TURKEY TURKMENISTAN TAJIK IS TAN
C H INA
LEBAN O N AFGHANISTAN
I SRA EL IRAQ IRAN
EG YPT BAHRAIN
Iran has ballistic missiles that could carry nuclear,
YEMEN chemical or biological warheads 1,500 miles—
ERITREA threatening U.S. troops, Israel, other U.S. allies
SUD A N and vital energy resources.
This map is for illustrative purposes only and does not imply any view regarding future agreements between Israel and its neighbors.
Hamas Turned Gaza into
Launching Pad for Terror
Israel demonstrated its willingness to take
dramatic risks for peace with the
Palestinians when it unilaterally withdrew
from Gaza in the summer of 2005. Israel’s
positive initiative was, unfortunately, met
with increased violence. In June 2007,
Hamas took control of Gaza through a
violent coup against the reigning Fatah
party. With a goal of destroying Israel, a
position which has gone unchanged since its
founding in 1987, Hamas has consolidated Hamas, Islamic Jihad and other Palestinian terrorists
its power and turned Gaza into a launching have fired close to 7,000 rockets and mortars in Israel
since it withdrew from Gaza in 2005.
pad for terrorist activity.
In response, Israel was forced in late Israel’s Gaza Withdrawal was a Historic
December 2008 to launch Operation Cast Move Toward Peace
Lead, a three-week operation aimed at In August 2005, Israel took a bold step toward
stopping the rocket fire and deterring future peace by unilaterally withdrawing from Gaza, an
attacks. Israel’s actions in Gaza specifically area that came into Israeli hands during the 1967
targeted Hamas while taking extraordinary Six-Day War. In a dramatic move that caused
and unprecedented efforts to avoid civilian great trauma among the Israeli public, Israel
casualties. Israel facilitated humanitarian dismantled all 21 settlements in Gaza and
assistance to Palestinians in Gaza relocated roughly 8,500 residents. Israel hoped
throughout the entire operation even while that the Palestinians would use this opportunity
its soldiers and civilians were being to develop their economy, build government
attacked. institutions and move toward peace.
However, Hamas further consolidate its control
of Gaza and step up attacks on Israel. After
American Israel Public Affairs Committee 50
Hamas’ success in January 2006 elections, the explosives and weapons into Gaza. Hamas
international community represented by the increased not only the amount of weapons, but
Quartet—the United States, Russia, the also the sophistication of its arsenal. Beyond the
European Union and the United Nations—said crude Qassam rockets Hamas has
Hamas needed to adhere to a set of three indiscriminately fired at Israeli border towns
requirements: recognize Israel, renounce such as Sderot, the terrorist group targeted larger
violence and accept previous Israeli-Palestinian population centers such as Ashkelon, Ashdod
agreements. and Beersheba with longer range and more
destructive Katyusha rockets. Hamas is now
Instead of taking such steps, Hamas and other believed to possess rockets that can hit Tel Aviv.
terrorist groups in Gaza increased their attacks,
firing more than 7,000 rockets and mortars into
Israel since 2005.
Hamas Carries Out Violent Coup in Gaza
In June 2007, Hamas carried out a bloody coup
against the Fatah party. The two groups were in
a unity government at the time Hamas forcefully
prevalent in Gaza
took over the area, leaving Fatah, the party of that Hamas began
Palestinian Authority (PA) President Mahmoud
Abbas, in charge only of the West Bank. After regulating the
the coup, Abbas fired the Hamas-led
government and established a technocratic tunnel industry by
government led by Prime Minister Salam
In June 2008, Egypt separately persuaded
owners to obtain
Hamas and Israel to accept a cessation of licenses and pay
hostilities. Despite Hamas’ commitment to stop
firing rockets and mortars, an average of two fees.
attacks per day continued. Hamas refused to
extend the lull in fighting in December, and
resumed full-scale rocket fire. Hamas and other groups use a vast underground
tunnel network under the Egypt-Gaza border to
Hamas Expands Weapons Smuggling, smuggle into Gaza hundreds of shoulder-fired
Military Infrastructure RPG anti-tank missiles, thousands of assault
Since the 2007 coup, Hamas increased its rifles, millions of bullets, tons of high-quality
weapons supplies by smuggling tons of explosives and a dozen anti-aircraft missiles.
American Israel Public Affairs Committee 51
Smuggling became so prevalent in Gaza that
starting in late September 2008, Hamas began
regulating the tunnel industry by requiring
tunnel owners to obtain licenses and pay fees to
Hamas. In addition to upgrading weapons,
Hamas advanced its military capabilities by
imitating Hizballah, creating formal quasi-
military units and instituting more extensive
training for troops.
Israel Forced to Defend Itself
Because of Hamas’ continued rejection of the
Quartet requirements and continued violence,
Israel was forced to take additional steps to
protect its citizens, including tougher military
action and restricting movement across the
borders between Israel and Gaza. Throughout
Israel’s operation in Gaza, it continued to
facilitate humanitarian aid into Gaza and
allowed patients needing medical care to cross Palestinians have used tunnels under the Egypt-Gaza
into Israel. Hamas bears full responsibility for border to smuggle arms into Gaza.
the Palestinian hardships resulting from the
attacks ordered by the group.
Congress, Administration Strongly Back
Israel’s Right to Self-Defense
Israel’s actions in Gaza specifically targeted
Congress has steadfastly stood by Israel as it has
Hamas command centers, security installations,
taken necessary measures to defend its citizens.
rocket-launching sites, weapons stockpiles and
During Israel’s actions in Gaza, the House and
smuggling tunnels. In its efforts to avoid civilian
Senate overwhelmingly passed resolutions
casualties, Israel transmitted specific warnings
strongly supporting Israel’s right to defend itself.
to Gazans about impending actions against
A broad coalition of lawmakers and other top
Hamas targets. Unfortunately, Hamas located its
American officials also made a series of
terrorist infrastructure in civilian population
statements supporting Israel’s efforts to defend
centers to make it more difficult for Israel to
its citizens from Hamas’ terrorizing rocket
target and to increase the likelihood of civilian
casualties when Israel acted.
President Barack Obama also has strongly
backed Israel’s right to defend its citizens. Two
American Israel Public Affairs Committee 52
days after his inauguration, Obama said America
“will always support Israel's right to defend
itself against legitimate threats. For years,
Hamas has launched thousands of rockets at
innocent Israeli citizens. No democracy can
tolerate such danger to its people, nor should the
international community, and neither should the
Palestinian people themselves, whose interests
are only set back by acts of terror.” Additionally,
Obama, like his predecessor, has opposed any
dealings with Hamas until it meets the three
requirements established by the international
Quartet – rejecting violence, recognizing Israel
and accepting previous agreements.
Working to Prevent Hamas’ Rearmament
The key to preventing further hostilities is to
ensure that Hamas is not allowed to continue
smuggling mostly Iranian-supplied weapons into Palestinian rockets from Gaza have struck schools,
synagogues, malls and homes, including the one in
Gaza. In the aftermath of the conflict, the United
States and several European powers agreed to
step up efforts to interdict and stop Iranian gun- Israel’s actions in Gaza have lead to a major
running destined for terrorists in Gaza. decrease in rocket and mortar attacks.
Unfortunately, this reduction appears to reflect a
The United States and Israel also signed a tactical decision by Hamas, not an ideological
historic Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) shift against the use of violence.
pledging joint efforts to stem the flow of
weapons to Hamas and terrorists in Gaza. The As Israel works closely with the United States
agreement recognizes that Hamas’ acquisition and other allies to prevent Hamas from
and use of arms against Israel were “the direct rearming, Israel is committed to working to
causes of recent hostilities” and that a durable ensure that the Palestinian people in Gaza
and sustainable cessation of hostilities depends continue to receive needed humanitarian
on denying weapons to terrorist groups and supplies. Israel also said it will work with the
countering Iran’s destructive activities. The PA, Arab states and the international community
agreement also strongly underscores American to ensure that rebuilding in Gaza helps empower
support for the security of the Jewish state and those seeking peace, and not Hamas and its
the importance of the U.S.-Israel relationship to allies who call for Israel’s destruction.
America’s national security.
American Israel Public Affairs Committee 53
HAMAS ROCKET RANGES
With Iranian assistance, Hamas has significantly upgraded
its rocket arsenal. Hamas rockets now threaten more than
700,000 Israelis and critical infrastructure. Bat Yam Rishon Letzion
Me diterran ean S ea Rehovot
B A NK
UPGRADED GRAD ROCKET Yavneh
Hamas Rocket Ranges
HEAVY MORTAR 6 mi.
Beersheba QASSAM 11 mi.
KATYUSHA/GRAD 12.6 mi.
UPGRADED GRAD 25 mi.
This map is for illustrative purposes only and does not imply any view regarding
future agreements between Israel and its neighbors. 0 15.5 mi.
Lebanon and Syria
Hizballah: Amassing Arms in
Hizballah is a terrorist organization—
supported by Iran and Syria—with global
reach that poses a direct threat to Israel and
to American interests at home and abroad.
Hizballah has killed more Americans than
any terrorist group other than al-Qaeda and
has exploited Israel’s full withdrawal from
Lebanon to bring about a bloody war in 2006.
Today, the U.S.-designated terrorist group
has amassed more than 42,000 rockets
aimed at Israel. Hizballah has amassed more than 42,000 rockets since
the 2006 war between Hizballah and Israel.
Israeli Withdrawal from Lebanon Met two others (whom it ultimately killed as well),
with Hizballah Build-up and War initiating a 33-day war with the Jewish state.
In May 2000, Israel unilaterally withdrew its During the war, Hizballah—which pledges
forces from a security zone in southern Lebanon, allegiance to Iran’s supreme leader and calls for
ending an 18-year presence that began when the destruction of the United States and Israel—
Israel sought to defend its citizens from regular launched an estimated 4,000 rockets at northern
Palestinian attacks against northern Israel. By Israeli towns and cities.
ending one of Hizballah’s stated pretexts for its
persistent attacks against Israel, the withdrawal Hizballah Rearms in Violation of U.N.
raised hopes that tensions would ease along the Security Resolution
Israeli-Lebanese border. Today, with the help of Iran and Syria,
Hizballah has reportedly amassed more than
Instead, Hizballah used the Israeli withdrawal to 42,000 long- and short-range rockets and
take control of southern Lebanon, amassing an missiles—tripling the rocket inventory it had
arsenal of 14,000 rockets and missiles. before the 2006 war and directly violating
numerous elements of U.N. Security Council
On July 12, 2006, Hizballah conducted a cross- Resolution 1701, which ended the war and
border raid, killing five soldiers and kidnapping called for Hizballah to be disarmed. The
American Israel Public Affairs Committee 56
resolution also called for the deployment of
Lebanese soldiers and an enlarged United Arab states were
Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) in
southern Lebanon. Although U.N. forces in
extremely critical of
Lebanon are specifically authorized to “take all
necessary action … to ensure that its area of
operations is not utilized for hostile activities of precipitating war
any kind,” UNIFIL has done little to prevent
Hizballah from rearming, rebuilding its with Israel in 2006.
command-and-control infrastructure, and
sending select forces to Iran for training. Nor
has the Lebanese army taken any significant Most of the Arab nations—other than Syria—are
measures to stem Hizballah’s illicit build-up in increasingly troubled by the Hizballah-Iran
southern Lebanon. alliance. After Hizballah initiated the 2006 war
with Israel, several Arab states—Saudi Arabia
Secretary of Defense Robert Gates wrote in the and Egypt in particular—were extremely critical
January/February 2009 issue of Foreign Affairs of Hizballah for risking a major war and trying
that Hizballah’s “restocked arsenal of rockets to spread its revolutionary agenda.
and missiles now dwarfs the inventory of many
nation-states.” Hizballah Gains Political Power
In May 2008, Hizballah launched attacks on
Hizballah-Iran Alliance Threatens Entire civilian neighborhoods in Beirut, an act seen by
Region many as an attempted coup and one that placed
Iran’s Islamic regime has utilized Hizballah the country on the brink of civil war. On May
since it founded the terrorist organization in the 21, 2008, after five days of intense negotiations
early 1980s as a vehicle for exporting its Shiite in Doha, Qatar, all major Lebanese parties
revolutionary ideology, using the group to signed an accord to elect Michel Suleiman as
destabilize Lebanon. Egyptian security has president, and to form a national unity
discovered and dismantled a large Hizballah cell government with 11 out of 30 cabinet positions
that had planned to attack targets in Egypt and held by the opposition, thus enabling Hizballah
help Hamas attack Israel. Iran provides to veto any governmental decision.
Hizballah with tens of millions of dollars a year,
as well as arms and training, and provides However, on June 7, 2009, Hizballah suffered a
direction during frequent meetings with blow, with the pro-Western alliance led by Sa’ad
Hizballah leaders. Director of National Hariri defeating the Hizballah alliance in
Intelligence Dennis Blair has testified to Lebanese elections. The outcome left the pro-
Congress that Hizballah is the “largest recipient Western coalition with 71 seats, while
of Iranian financial aid, training, and weaponry.” Hizballah’s coalition only garnered 57 seats.
American Israel Public Affairs Committee 57
Despite this setback for Hizballah, the pro- addition to the Popular Front for the Liberation
Western March 14 coalition, in its efforts to of Palestine and Fatah al-Intifada, which operate
form a national unity government, acquiesced to in the Syrian-Lebanese border regions, extremist
the demands of the Hizballah-led opposition. groups have developed in the Palestinian refugee
The new government includes two Hizballah camps. New evidence of the widespread
ministers, in addition to eight other opposition coordination and intelligence sharing between
cabinet ministers, thus allowing Hizballah to the LAF and Hizballah, and the growing
influence government policy and block efforts to possibility of U.S. weapons supplied to the LAF
disarm the terrorist group. being used against Israel, has also emerged.
LAF Killing of IDF Officers Brings New Hizballah an Increasing Threat to Israel
Scrutiny to U.S. Aid to Lebanon and Regional Stability
On August 3, 2010, Lebanese snipers targeted a In light of these developments, Hizballah has
routine IDF maintenance detail, killing an Israeli effectively neutralized the Lebanese government
soldier and severely wounding another. A and increased its capabilities to threaten not only
Lebanese soldier and a reporter were killed in Israel, but the stability of the entire region. In
the Israeli response. The entire LAF attack was November 2009, Hizballah released a new party
staged south of the Blue Line, in Israeli territory. platform, the first since its original 1985 mission
statement. Reiterating Hizballah’s opposition to
Since the 2006 Israel-Hizballah War the United any recognition of Israel, the new statement also
States has increased both economic and financial expanded Hizballah’s goals to include armed
support for the government of Lebanon to opposition to the United States specifically.
approximately $1 billion overall, of which over
$700 million is military aid and support. The Hizballah’s calls for Israel’s destruction and its
George W. Bush administration, primarily ongoing amassing of rockets may harbinger
through the Department of Defense, made U.S. future war if left unchecked. In the coming year,
support for the Lebanese Armed Forces (LAF) a members of Congress and the administration
very firm and public commitment as part of U.S. will need to focus on the danger posed by
efforts to strengthen the central government and Hizballah’s continuing military build-up and to
prevent Hizballah and its Iranian supporters examine whether UNIFIL is carrying out this
from further destabilizing the country or taking mandate. It also will be essential for Congress to
it over completely. These efforts continued review the U.S. program of assistance provided
under the Obama administration. to the Lebanese army to ensure that the LAF
understands the purpose and goals of the
Despite these efforts, the power of the elected program, and does not seek further conflict with
government of Lebanon has decrease and Israel.
Hizballah and Syria’s influence increased.
Lebanon remains a terrorist incubator. In
American Israel Public Affairs Committee 58
HIZBALLAH ROCKET RANGES
M e d i t e r r anean Sea
LONG RANGE KATYUSHA GOLAN
FAJR-3 HEIGHTS SYRIA
Haifa Sea of Galilee
SYRIAN B-302 Netanya a
Gaza City de
Sderot Dead Sea
Hizballah Rocket Ranges SCALE
KATYUSHA 12 mi.
LONG-RANGE KATYUSHA 24 mi. 0 25 mi.
FAJR-3 28 mi.
Eilat FAJR-5/SYRIAN 220mm 45 mi.
This map is for illustrative purposes only and does not imply any view SYRIAN B-302 71 mi.
regarding future agreements between Israel and its neighbors. ZELZAL-2 130 mi.
Is Syria Ready for Peace?
For decades, Syria has been a force for
instability in the region. Damascus’
continued support for terrorism, cooperation
with Iran, ongoing interference in Lebanon
and support for insurgents in Iraq have
harmed American interests and cost the lives
of numerous U.S. military personnel. As
Syria works to end its international isolation,
Damascus must take concrete steps to
demonstrate its readiness for peace and
stability in the Middle East.
Syrian President Bashar Assad must take serious steps to
Damascus: A Terrorist Hub in the Region demonstrate he is interested in peace with Israel.
Syria has been a charter member of the U.S. list
of designated state sponsors of terrorism since Syria Helps Hizballah Rearm After War
its inception in 1979. Syria supports the terrorist Hizballah, a key Syrian client, has killed more
groups Hizballah, Hamas and Islamic Jihad, Americans than any terrorist group other than al-
among others, and allows their external Qaeda. Its core principles, spelled out in its 2009
leaderships to operate in Damascus. In April platform, pledge allegiance to Iran’s supreme
2003, then-Secretary of State Colin Powell leader, call for the destruction of Israel and
traveled to Damascus to seek Syrian cooperation declare that Hizballah’s “determination to fight
on anti-terrorism efforts. While Powell secured a the U.S. is solid.”
Syrian commitment to close the Damascus
offices of Palestinian terrorist organizations, During Hizballah’s war against Israel in the
Syrian President Bashar Assad reneged on his summer of 2006, Hizballah fired more than
word and the offices remain open. 4,000 Syrian- and Iranian-supplied rockets into
Israel, killing more than 40 and wounding more
In addition, U.S. and Iraqi officials are charging than 2,000. Syria continues to help Hizballah
that Syria continues to allow terrorists to cross rearm, both directly and by permitting the
into Iraq to carry out major attacks against shipment of Iranian arms through its territory in
American troops and Iraqi civilians. violation of U.N. Security Council Resolution
1701, which ended the 2006 war.
American Israel Public Affairs Committee 60
In 2009 and 2010, Syria increased tensions in An investigation by the International Atomic
the region further with the transfer of more Energy Agency (IAEA) provides strong
advanced and longer-range weaponry such as evidence that Syria also has been pursuing
M-600 missiles and Scud rocket launchers. capabilities that could be employed in a nuclear
Hizballah now has more than 42,000 rockets – weapons program. The IAEA concluded in a
nearly three times as many as it had prior to the November 2008 report that there is strong reason
war. to believe Syria was nearing completion of a
nuclear reactor before Israel destroyed it in
Syria Destabilizes Lebanon September 2007. The IAEA found a
Syria has constantly meddled in Lebanese affairs “significant” number of processed uranium
for decades. It occupied Lebanon for 30 years particles in the soil at the site and said the
under the guise of “providing stability” during features of the building resembled those of a
and after the Lebanese civil war. Damascus is nuclear reactor. A subsequent IAEA report
suspected in a string of assassinations of leading highlighted the discovery of additional uranium
anti-Syrian Lebanese politicians and journalists, particles at a reactor facility in Damascus. With
including the 2005 killing of former Prime Syria already maintaining the largest stockpile
Minister Rafik Hariri. of biological and chemical weapons in the Arab
world, an illicit Syrian nuclear weapons program
In response to these assassinations, a mass raises serious concerns.
Lebanese movement, known as the Cedar
Revolution, galvanized international pressure
against the Syrian presence. In response, Syria
formally withdrew its troops from Lebanon in Damascus’
late 2005. In August 2008, Syria and Lebanon
finally began diplomatic talks to normalize
relations, and exchanged ambassadors for the
first time early this year. This marks an
Iran has run counter
important milestone, as Syria traditionally has to U.S. interests.
refused to recognize Lebanese sovereignty—
believing that Lebanon is simply part of Greater
Syria. While this new diplomatic activity has U.S. Takes Action to Sanction Syria
been welcomed and has led to the thawing of In 2003, Congress passed the Syria
Syria’s international isolation, many Accountability and Lebanese Sovereignty
policymakers and Lebanese politicians remain Restoration Act, imposing diplomatic and
suspicious of Syria’s motives. economic sanctions on Syria for violating
Lebanese sovereignty and for backing terrorist
groups in Iraq. Under the law, the president was
Syria Pursues Secret Nuclear Program required to implement at least two of six
American Israel Public Affairs Committee 61
sanctions provided for in the legislation. by al-Qaeda and again traced to terrorists
President George W. Bush implemented entering Iraq via Syria. Baghdad recalled its
sanctions banning all exports to Syria except ambassador and demanded that Syria expel the
food and medicine and barring Syrian aircraft militants. Damascus immediately responded by
from landing in or flying over the United States. recalling their own ambassador, effectively
ending the U.S. initiative before it began.
Is Syria Ready for Peace?
Syria has felt the sting of international isolation, If Syria wishes to emerge from its international
but it is not yet clear how far it is willing to go isolation, Damascus must commit to peace and
towards finding peaceful solutions with Israel reject terrorism and extremism. For talks
and in Lebanon. between Israel and Syria to succeed, Damascus
must be ready to take steps to demonstrate that it
Syria has taken some steps that hint it may be is a serious partner for peace, including:
ready to change course. In November 2007,
Syria sent a delegation to the Annapolis peace • closing down the Syrian offices of
conference in Maryland, and Israel and Syria Palestinian terrorist groups
also conducted indirect negotiations under
Turkish mediation during 2007 and 2008. • ending support for the terrorist group
Hizballah and for Palestinian terrorist
While the Obama administration has renewed groups
sanctions imposed under the Syria
Accountability Act, it also has sought to • distancing itself from the radical
improve relations between Washington and Islamist leadership in Iran
Damascus. President Obama said he would
nominate career diplomat Robert Ford to • answering questions about its illicit
become the United States' first ambassador to nuclear activity
Damascus since 2005. In addition, a series of
high-level visits to Syria have focused on • halting its destabilizing actions in
persuading Syria to clamp down on the influx Lebanon and allowing the Lebanese
into Iraq of foreign fighters who have directly government to exercise sovereignty
contributed to the instability of the new Iraqi
government and the deaths of American soldiers. • reducing Syria’s massive military
In August of 2009, a delegation from presence near its border with the Golan
CENTCOM established a tentative protocol with to create an environment that facilitates
Syria on the security of Iraqi-Syrian border peace
posts. Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki
visited Damascus to seal the tripartite deal, only • stopping the flow of terrorists from Syria
to return to a series of truck bombings claimed to Iraq
American Israel Public Affairs Committee 62
Defense and Homeland
Strategic Cooperation Heightens
For decades, the United States and Israel
have shared a deep strategic relationship
aimed at confronting the common threats to
both nations. During the Cold War, the
United States and Israel collaborated in
limiting Soviet influence in the region. Today,
in the post-9/11 world, the United States and
Israel are working together more closely than
ever before to defeat the common threats of
radicalism, terrorism and proliferation of
weapons of mass destruction.
The Two Allies Train Together for
The close strategic relationship between the
United States and Israel originated with the
allies sharing key intelligence around the time of
the 1967 Six-Day War. This partnership was The Arrow anti-ballistic missile is a cornerstone of U.S.-
later broadened and formalized in the early Israel strategic cooperation.
1980s when President Ronald Reagan and Israeli
Prime Minister Yitzhak Shamir announced the
exercises involving American and Israeli land,
establishment of the Joint Political Military
sea and air forces. Twice annually, U.S. Marines
Group to coordinate planning against threats
conduct desert warfare training with their Israel
faced by both nations in the Middle East. Later
Defense Forces (IDF) counterparts, and
in the decade, Israel was formally designated as
American soldiers and security officials have
a major non-NATO ally of the United States.
received Israeli instruction on urban combat
techniques. U.S. pilots hold mock dogfights with
Today, the United States prepositions military
the Israeli Air Force and have tested aerial
equipment such as ammunition and armor in
combat tactics and practiced refueling.
Israel, and the two allies engage in joint military
American Israel Public Affairs Committee 64
between the United States and Israel has It is the only operational system that has
produced innovative technologies and security consistently proven that one missile can shoot
techniques that are now protecting American down another at high altitudes and supersonic
and Israeli lives. speeds. Israel and the United states are also
collaborating on the development of a quick-
In addition, Israel and the United States have reaction defense system, called “David’s Sling,”
cooperated on a wide range of intelligence to address the threats posed by a myriad of
sharing programs, including work on monitoring short- and medium-range missiles and rockets.
Iran, al-Qaeda and other terrorist groups. Such
collaboration has played a critical role in In addition, as the potential threat of long-range
stemming extremism in the region and boosting nuclear-armed ballistic missiles from rogue
Israel’s role as an indispensable player in the regimes looms, Israeli and U.S. missile-defense
war against radical Islam. agencies and industries are developing a more
sophisticated missile defense-system that can
The United States and Israel Cooperate target enemy missiles at the highest reaches of
on Missile Defense the atmosphere.
The close partnership between the United States
and Israel has yielded leading military Israeli Technologies and Techniques
technologies such as the Arrow, anti-ballistic Help U.S. Soldiers on the Battlefield
missile-defense system that is currently Strategic cooperation has also made other,
deployed in Israel. Jointly developed by the two important Israeli military innovations available
allies, the Arrow is among the world’s most to the United States, which is currently putting
sophisticated missile shields. these systems to use in the Middle East.
Israeli Technologies, Techniques Used in Iraq and Afghanistan
Litening Pod Hunter UAV
Israeli-developed and American- The Israeli-developed drone has
produced, this sophisticated been used daily by U.S.
system has revolutionized the commanders in Iraq and
targeting and navigation Afghanistan to gather critical
capabilities of American aircraft. intelligence.
Bradley Reactive The Emergency
Armor Tiles Bandage
Hundreds of U.S. soldiers have Used widely in Iraq, this state-
been saved by the Israeli- of-the-art Israeli bandage
developed armor plating that enables medics to dress a
explodes outward, diffusing wound while simultaneously
the impact of incoming fire. stemming bleeding.
American Israel Public Affairs Committee 65
Israel and the protect American armored personnel carriers in
Iraq, saving hundreds of servicemen from
United States have potential death or injury. America and Israel
have also cooperated to reduce the threat posed
cooperated on a by improvised explosive devices, increase the
accuracy and safety of multiple weapon systems,
wide range of and improve aircraft self-protection and
programs, including Advanced Medical Training and Products
Israeli battlefield medical expertise has yielded
work on monitoring an increase in the survival rate of severely
injured U.S. combat troops through both training
Iran, al-Qaeda and and medical products heretofore unavailable.
Beyond the hardware, Israel has opened its
other terrorist doors and its expertise to U.S. military doctors
researching efforts to mitigate the effects of
groups. Post-Traumatic Syndrome and the psychological
issues challenging amputees during
Unmanned Aerial Vehicles and Litening
The American military routinely deploys Israeli-
developed unmanned aerial vehicles, which have
logged thousands of hours in Iraq and
Afghanistan. U.S. planes in both countries have
been equipped with the Litening targeting pod,
an Israeli-origin system with infrared sensors
that identify ground targets and enable pilots to
fly at night and in bad weather. The Litening
made it possible for American fighter pilots to
deliver the munitions that eliminated al-Qaeda’s
top leader in Iraq, Abu Musab al-Zarqawi.
Bradley Reactive Armor Tiles and IED
Israeli-developed reactive armor tiles, which
explode outward upon impact, have been used to
American Israel Public Affairs Committee 66
Homeland Security: Expanding
The reality of life in Israel during the past 62
years has forced Israelis to defend against
constant terrorist threats. As a result, the
Jewish state has become a leader in
designing techniques and technologies in
the arenas of homeland security and
Since 9/11, the United States and Israel have
intensified their homeland security
Since 9/11, the United States and Israel have
cooperation. Israel shares priceless
intensified their homeland security cooperation.
information about terrorist organizations
with the United States and is working with
U.S. government and private entities to
develop technologies and equipment aimed
at thwarting terrorism and safeguarding
citizens from both nations.
The United States and Israel signed a 2007 landmark
agreement boosting homeland security cooperation.
Administration, Congress Act to Solidify
Cooperation with Israel between the two nations. Then Israeli Minister
American officials have recognized the of Public Security Avi Dichter and Secretary of
tremendous benefits the United States can gain Homeland Security Michael Chertoff signed a
from working closely with Israel on homeland Memorandum of Understanding (MOU),
security matters. U.S. policymakers have taken opening a host of possibilities to further expand
major steps in recent years to increase U.S.- cooperation in the homeland security arena.
Israel cooperation and harness Israel’s expertise
in the homeland security arena. In 2007, Congress also passed legislation to
strengthen homeland security ties between the
On February 8, 2007, the United States and United States and key allies, including Israel.
Israel formalized homeland security cooperation The Promoting Anti-Terrorism through Science
and Technology (PACTS) Act created an Office
American Israel Public Affairs Committee 67
of International Cooperation within the Science for the development of its own homeland
& Technology Directorate of Department of security needs.
Homeland Security. Israel was one of five
countries mentioned in the bill as an Aviation Security
international partner in homeland security. American aviation officials have done just that.
The Transportation Security Administration
State and Local Officials Also Building (TSA) and airport officials from Massachusetts,
Ties with Israeli Counterparts California and Florida, among other states, have
Several states also have recognized Israel’s been working with Israeli experts responsible for
valuable input in protecting the American security at Tel Aviv’s Ben-Gurion International
public: the Maryland-Israel partnership was Airport—recognized as one of the world’s most
announced in 2003, the Illinois-Israel secure—on improving American airport
partnership was adopted in June 2006 and as security.
recently as November 2008, Michigan signed a
Joint Declaration of Strategic Cooperation with
American law-enforcement officers and first
responders are increasingly studying Israel’s
battle against terrorism to glean lessons for U.S.
efforts to protect its citizens. Israel frequently
hosts delegations of American police chiefs, increasingly
sheriffs and emergency responders. These
officials have returned to infuse their studying Israel’s
departments’ training with lessons on how
Israeli security forces prevent terrorist attacks battle against
such as suicide bombings.
terrorism to glean
The United States Can Leverage Israel’s
Expertise and Technologies
lessons for U.S.
Israel’s expertise includes many elements, such efforts to protect its
as critical infrastructure protection, border
security, explosives detection, bioterrorism citizens.
preparedness, biometrics, airport security, water
and food security, and emergency preparedness
and response. In 2007, then Israeli Public Border Security
Security Minister Avi Dichter said that the Israel’s vast experience in protecting its borders
United States “should use Israel as a laboratory” from terrorists, and the technologies developed
American Israel Public Affairs Committee 68
as a result, has been put to use here in the United Government Printing Office (GPO) for U.S.
States. The Bureau of Customs and Border Passports. As Israel’s industry and expertise
Protection (CBP) has been operating Israeli- grows, the United States will continue to benefit
designed unmanned aerial reconnaissance as well.
vehicles along our border with Mexico as part of
the Arizona Border Coordination Initiative. Looking Ahead: Important Steps the
These UAVs have been an effective force United States Can Take
multiplier in CBP’s effort to stem the flow of Recognizing Israel’s unique role as a strategic
illegal immigrants, dangerous narcotics and asset and the common threats both nations face,
potential terrorists from sneaking across the policymakers from state governments to the
Southwest border. military and DHS, as well as university research
teams, should identify new ways to further
harness Israel’s expertise and promote the
Cooperation will synergy by the two allies.
help ensure that the Building on Successful Cooperation
Cooperation will help ensure that the U.S. and
U.S. and Israel, Israel, working together, are prepared to combat
and defend against those who seek to harm both
working together, nations. Building on a history of successful
cooperation between the U.S. and Israel in the
are prepared to areas of military technologies and defense
combat and defend policies, homeland security and emergency
response represents an additional opportunity to
against those who strengthen the critical alliance with our closest
ally in the Middle East.
seek to harm both Deepening Relationships and Cooperation
nations. The administration, with congressional support,
should take advantage of the PACTS Act,
DHS’s Office of International Cooperation, and
Mall and Passport Security existing MOUs to continue developing
Israel’s expertise extends beyond airport security partnerships with Israel and utilize Israel’s
and border protection. American security expertise towards American security.
officials have recognized Israel’s expertise in
mall security and sought to learn from Israel’s
experience. Additionally, Israel’s innovative
microchip industry is being used by the
American Israel Public Affairs Committee 69
Energy and Trade
U.S.-Israel Energy Cooperation:
A Renewable Resource
In an era of booming populations, shrinking
resources, environmental degradation and
over-reliance on fossil fuel for energy, Israel
is a world leader in critical fields such as
solar power generation and seawater
desalination. Israel’s cutting-edge
technologies promise to improve energy
efficiency as well as reduce oil dependence,
while making industry more efficient and
minimizing the environmental impact of
The Israeli company Solel is building the world’s largest
human activities. As the United States
solar energy park in California’s Mojave Desert.
focuses on energy security issues, Congress
and the administration have sought to government, a representative of the Israel-
expand cooperation with Israel to harness United States Binational Industrial Research and
the Jewish state’s expertise. Development Foundation (BIRD) and a
representative of the United States-Israel
Binational Science Foundation (BSF). Working
Congress Moves to Foster U.S.-Israel together, the grant program seeks to promote
Energy Cooperation development of solar energy, wind energy,
In late 2007, Congress passed the U.S.-Israel biomass energy, geothermal energy, wave and
Energy Cooperation Act as part of the Energy tidal energy, energy efficiency and advanced
Independence and Security Act of 2007. The battery technology.
law establishes a grant program for joint
cooperative ventures between American and Noting that reducing dependency on foreign oil
Israeli business entities, government agencies, remains a long-term national security interest,
academic institutions and nonprofit entities the law authorizes a grant program through the
aimed at developing alternative sources of year 2014.
In early 2009, U.S.-Israel energy cooperation
The act also establishes an advisory board received funding for the first time. In fiscal year
consisting of a representative of the U.S. 2009 and fiscal year 2010 spending bills,
American Israel Public Affairs Committee 72
Congress allocated a total of $4 million for U.S.- environment. Recognizing the possibilities of
Israel energy cooperation. President Obama such an innovation, U.S. policy makers from
signed the most recent allocation into law in California and Hawaii are developing plans to
October 2009. Members of Congress have implement the project in their regions, while
already voiced strong support for funding in others have expressed a similar interest.
fiscal year 2011, which currently remains
pending in committee. Solar Energy Parks
In 2007, Pacific Gas and Electric (PG&E)
In November 2009, the U.S. Department of contracted with an Israeli company, Solel, to
Energy and the Israeli Ministry of National build in California’s Mojave Desert the world’s
Infrastructures announced they would each largest solar energy park. When completed in
contributes funds that amount to $3.3. million to 2011, Solel’s Solar Energy Generating Systems
cooperate on clean energy initiatives. The (SEGS) will have a capacity of 553
Binational Industrial Research and Development megawatts—enough electricity for 400,000
(BIRD) Foundation awarded the funding as part homes.
of the U.S.-Israel Energy Cooperation Act. The
joint-programs are researching the conversion of
solar energy into electricity, Smart-Grid
technology, solar energy capturing building As the United
materials, and biodiesal production.
States focuses on
Israel’s Energy Initiatives and
Technologies issues, Congress
Project Better Place and the executive
Israel plans to become the first country to begin
mass deployment of electric cars. Better Place, a branch have
venture-backed company that aims to reduce
global dependency on oil through the creation of
sought to expand
a market-based transportation infrastructure that
supports electric vehicles, chose Israel to be the
first market in which to deploy its model. By Israel to harness
partnering with car manufacturers and battery
suppliers, Better Place, the brain-child of Israeli the Jewish state’s
entrepreneur Shai Agassi, offers subscribers
access to lower car and battery prices, reducing expertise.
the stranglehold of oil on its economy and
American Israel Public Affairs Committee 73
Water Desalination development, enhanced cooperation between the
Israel also houses the world’s largest seawater U.S. and Israel could significantly benefit both
reverse osmosis desalination plant, located in its countries.
southern city of Ashkelon. The plant came
online in 2005. It can produce up to 320,000
cubic meters of fresh water daily, or around five
percent of Israel’s total water needs. Given that With Israeli
Israel is 60 percent desert with limited resources
of fresh water, desalination over time will
scientists at the
become a necessity of life. Israeli companies
also lead in revolutionary technologies for water
purification, wastewater treatment, and water renewable energy
quality monitoring. Israeli products are being
used by municipal water treatment plants and research and
other facilities throughout the U.S.
Driving Toward Better Energy
An Israeli company has recently announced that
it found a way to capitalize on the pressure that
is created by the weight of cars on the road in
order to produce electricity. The company’s aim between the U.S.
is to produce commercial quantities of electricity
that would help power street lights, reducing and Israel could
costs and increasing efficiency. The project was
developed by scientists at Innowattech, a start- significantly benefit
up company partially owned by Israel’s
Technion Institute and private investors and is
soon to be piloted on a short section of road in
northern Israel, in conjunction with Israel’s
Department of Public Works.
Sustaining and Expanding U.S.–Israel
Cooperation between the United States and
Israel has already led to many scientific,
technological and commercial breakthroughs.
With Israeli scientists and engineers at the
forefront of renewable energy research and
American Israel Public Affairs Committee 74
U.S.-Israel Trade: A Flourishing
During the past 60 years, Israel has emerged
as arguably America’s premier Middle East
trading partner and a leading source of
investment opportunities and innovative
technologies for U.S. firms and
entrepreneurs. In recognition of the close
alliance between the two nations, the United
States signed its first-ever Free Trade
Agreement (FTA) with Israel in 1985, which
resulted in a seven-fold increase in trade.
This landmark agreement helped to orient
Israel’s trade posture toward America,
strengthening the U.S.-Israel relationship
and ensuring that Israel’s greatest friend is
also its largest trading partner.
U.S.-Israel Trade Fundamentals Are
Israel has become the number one Middle East
destination for U.S. exports, according to
Department of Commerce figures. In 2007, the
value of U.S. exports to Israel, totaling $13
billion, exceeded the value of U.S. exports to
With a population of just over seven million,
any other country in the region. Leading U.S.
Israel ranked as America’s 20th leading trade
exports to Israel include military equipment,
partner in 2006, ahead of countries such as
machinery, agricultural commodities, computer
Russia, Spain, Australia, and Indonesia.
hardware and software, and cultural and
American Israel Public Affairs Committee 75
Israel is a Major Attraction for U.S. research or manufacturing facilities in Israel.
Investors and Companies Intel alone has almost 7,000 employees in Israel,
Israel is a preferred target for U.S. investment, making it the country’s largest private-sector
attracting billions of dollars annually from employer.
American companies and investors looking to
acquire cutting-edge technologies and secure a Israeli Businesses Add Value to the U.S.
high rate of return. Economy
Israelis also invest in America. Israel led all
A recent Deloitte & Touche survey of U.S. other Middle Eastern countries in direct
venture capital (VC) fund managers found that investment in the United States from 2002 to
70 percent rated Israel as a top destination in 2005, according to Department of Commerce
terms of continuous availability of quality figures. During that period, Israelis invested
investment opportunities. In 2006, Warren about as much in U.S. firms and properties as
Buffet’s Berkshire Hathaway made its first-ever residents of all other Middle Eastern countries
foreign acquisition, buying 80 percent of Iscar, combined.
an Israeli maker of precision blades and drills,
for $4 billion. Israeli companies are busy creating jobs
throughout America. For example, according to
a recent AP news report, 15 Israeli companies
With a population of have opened shop in the Cleveland suburb of
Beachwood in the past four years, thanks in part
just over seven to the outreach efforts of the Ohio Department
of Development’s Tel Aviv office. Some of
million, Israel ranks these firms have brought their headquarters and
even manufacturing operations over from Israel,
as one of America’s adding stable, high-paying jobs to the local
partners. Israel’s Plasan Sasa, a kibbutz-owned company
and leading manufacturer of armor kits for
civilian and military vehicles, bought a carbon
fiber composites plant in Bennington, Vermont,
Israel has become the preeminent foreign in 2006. The Vermont enterprise, renamed
outpost of the U.S. computer, Plasan USA, has expanded its workforce from
telecommunications and software industries. 67 to more than 200 employees and undergone
Looking to take advantage of its educated and substantial capital improvements. It is now
innovative workforce, American companies such filling orders for thousands of armor kits for the
as Intel, Motorola, Cisco and Microsoft maintain U.S. military’s Mine Resistant Ambush
American Israel Public Affairs Committee 76
Protected (MRAP) vehicles, and also makes
carbon-fiber parts for several American sports
Israel’s Check Point Software Technologies,
maker of FireWall-1, one of the world’s leading
network security programs, maintains its U.S.
headquarters in Redwood City, California, and
has offices in 17 other states. In 2004, Check
Point acquired the well known, San Francisco-
based anti-virus and anti-spyware software
developer Zone Labs for $114 million in cash
and 5.3 million of its own shares. Israel is one of the leading technology hubs in the world.
U.S.-Israel trade and investment is a two-way • Lightening the burden for Israelis
street, and provides tremendous benefits for both wishing to travel to the U.S. by
countries. Bilateral economic ties have truly expanding the menu of visas for which
become one of the pillars of the U.S.-Israel they are eligible, or adding Israel to the
relationship. Visa Waiver Program, which would
allow for paperwork-free, short-duration
Further Steps to Enhancing U.S.-Israel visits to the United States.
While the trade relationship between the United • Supporting joint U.S.-Israeli research-
States and Israel remains robust, both countries and-development efforts by enhancing
can still take several steps that would further the mission and status of government-
enhance the relationship and provide further chartered, grant-making institutions
incalculable benefits to the two allies. Such steps such as the Binational Industrial
may include: Research and Development fund
(BIRD), the Binational Agricultural
• Continuing to fight the Arab League Research and Development fund
boycott of Israel, which impacts U.S. (BARD), and the Binational Science
companies and investments in Israel as Foundation (BSF).
well as Israeli companies of U.S. origin.
• Evaluating methods for integrating the
U.S.-Israel Free Trade Agreement with
other regional agreements, starting with
the U.S.-Jordan FTA.
American Israel Public Affairs Committee 77